French Toast, Prunes and Fermented Milk Ice Cream

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Bistronomy

By Katrina Meynink

Published 2014

  • About

You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.

Ingredients

  • butter, to serve
  • brown sugar, to serve
  • coriander (cilantro) flowers, to serve

Fermented Milk Ice Cream

  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) thickened (whipping) cream
  • 25 g (1 oz) glucose
  • 190 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1.3 litres (44 fl oz/5 cups) fermented milk (such as Yakult)

Brioche

  • 42 g ( oz) fresh yeast
  • 480 g (1 lb 1 oz/ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 5 eggs
  • 80 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened, cubed
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk, for soaking
  • 6 eggs, lightly whisked, for soaking
  • 40 g ( oz) sugar, for soaking

Prunes Escabeche

  • 100 g ( oz/½ cup) prunes, pitted, skins removed
  • 100 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 45 g ( oz/½ bunch) coriander (cilantro)
  • Japanese Umeboshi plum vinegar

Caramelised Pecans

  • 125 g ( oz) sugar
  • 25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) pecans

Method

To make the fermented milk ice cream, slightly warm half of the cream in a saucepan over low heat. Add the glucose and mix using a stick blender. Add the remaining cream and the sugar and mix again. Warm the mixture to 70°C (150°F), before removing from the heat and adding the fermented milk. Mix well to combine. Refrigerate until cool before churning in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Make the brioche by dissolving the yeast in 120 ml (4 fl oz) of warm water, and adding it to a bowl with 240 g ( oz) of the flour. Knead the dough lightly then let it rest, covered, in a warm and dry place for 1½–2 hours, until it doubles in size. Place the dough in a food processor and, using the whisk attachment, start mixing on low, adding the eggs one at a time. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the remaining flour, the sugar and the salt. Set the food processor to high and add the butter, little by little, continuing to mix until most of the dough begins to clump on the whisk. Set aside, covered in a cool, dry place to rest for 30–60 minutes, until doubled in size again. Shape the dough into two loaves, 15 × 25 cm (6 × 10 inches).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3). Transfer the loaves into two buttered and lightly floured bread-baking tins and allow to rest for an additional 10 minutes. Bake for 35–40 minutes, checking after 20 minutes, until the brioche is cooked and golden. Remove and set aside until ready to serve. As older bread achieves a better result with French toast, it’s a good idea to make the brioche a day ahead along with the ice cream.

To make the prune escabeche, put the prunes and sugar into a medium saucepan with 310 ml (10¾ fl oz/ cups) water and boil over medium heat for 10–15 minutes until pulpy. Remove the pulp and set aside for plating. Add the coriander to the prune liquid and set aside for the flavours to infuse until the mixture has cooled. Strain, then mix with the Japanese vinegar at 3 parts of the filtered syrup to 2 parts Japanese vinegar.

To make the caramelised pecans, put 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) of water, the sugar and pecans into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Boil until the mixture is shiny and syrupy in consistency. Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven at 170°C (325°F/Gas 3) until caramelised. Set aside until ready to serve.

Combine the milk, eggs and sugar for the soaking bath in a large, high-sided dish, ensuring they are well combined. Cut the brioche into bite-size cubes and soak in the bath for at least 10 minutes before draining on paper towel.

To serve, caramelise each side of the brioche cubes with butter and brown sugar in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Place 3 mounds of prune pulp on each plate in a triangular shape. Place one piece of caramelised pecan and a coriander flower on each mound. Pour 10 ml of prune escabeche over, then place the French toast and quenelles of ice cream in the triangle. Add some additional fresh coriander flowers and serve.