Crispy Coconut French Toast with Sour Cherries and Dark Chocolate

makes 6 pieces of french toast

notes: If you are making your own challah from scratch, it would be ideal to make it the day before and then let it sit overnight. French toast is best when made using stale bread. I have included a recipe below for challah from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is the only recipe that I've ever used, but feel free to use your favorite, or use store bought challah or brioche. Also, for convenience, make the cherry compote ahead of time. It will take around 25 minutes to simmer, and then additional time to let cool.


French Toast:

6 (1" thick) slices of challah bread

3 eggs

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups (1/4 cup per slice) shredded coconut

butter for frying


Cherry Compote:

2 cups (frozen or fresh) pitted sour cherries

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar


Toppings:

dark chocolate, shredded

powdered sugar

maple syrup

whipped cream


To make the cherry compote, add 2 cups of pitted cherries, frozen or fresh (I prefer sour cherries for the taste, but you can use any cherry variety), 1/2 cup of orange juice, and 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the cherries are soft. Strain the cherries from the saucepan, and continue to simmer the juices until thick, 15 - 20 minutes. Pour the juice over the cherries and then let cool.


In a large bowl, add the eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.


Heat a frying pan on medium with enough butter to coat the pan.


Add a 1/4 cup of the shredded coconut, at a time, to a plate. Place a slice of bread into the egg and coconut mixture. Let it soak for a few minutes on each side. Remove from the egg mixture and then coat each side with a 1/4 cup of shredded coconut. (Once you have removed the bread from the egg mixture, add the next slice of bread to begin soaking). Place the slice of bread into the frying pan, and fry until golden brown, 2 - 3 minutes on each side. You can also fry 2 - 3 slices of bread at a time if you have a large enough frying pan. Add some more butter before you fry each slice. It helps with the browning. 


Serve immediately with cherries and shredded chocolate, or keep the French toast warm in the oven at 200ºF until ready to serve.


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