Bright orange juice and creamy coconut milk make a much more interesting custard for French toast than regular milk. A warm fruit topping made with fresh pineapple and shredded coconut adds sweetness and eliminates the need for loads of maple syrup and powdered sugar. (If you’ve got a juicer, try substituting fresh pressed pineapple juice for the orange juice here. And feel free to substitute any other fruit — berries, bananas, or even stone fruit — for the pineapple.)
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/8 teaspoon cloves
8 slices whole-grain bread
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the orange juice and a 1/4 cup of coconut milk in a bowl, and stir in the vanilla, salt, and spice.
2. Put the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and brush both sides with the orange-juice-and-coconut-milk mixture until you’ve used it all. Bake until the tops are golden, 10 to 15 minutes, then turn the slices and bake until the second side is golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. (The bread should get a little crisp on top, but not crunchy all the way through.)
3. Meanwhile, put the coconut in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl. Add the pineapple to the skillet and cook, stirring once in a while, until it’s caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Return the coconut to the skillet and add a 1/2 cup of water and the remaining coconut milk, stirring to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the liquid reduces to a sauce as thick or thin as you like, 2 to 6 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the toast and serve.
Mark Bittman is the author of How to Cook Everything.