There are a few ingredients that I genuinely believe improve almost anything. Pistachios is one of them. I’m trying to find the words to describe pistachio’s flavor – nutty, obviously, rich, maybe a touch of cherry or a floral note? There’s just something special about it. I especially love them paired with strawberries, so here we are, with my strawberry pistachio baked French Toast. The pistachios add a lovely crunch, the strawberries are sweet and bright, and baked French toast is basically a lower key bread pudding. The extra brilliant thing? You can put everything together the night before, for an epic carbo-licious brunch.
6 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
10 slices day-old brioche (about 3/4 inch thick)
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
3 cups strawberries, quartered and divided
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Beat eggs in a bowl. Whisk in milk, heavy cream, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt.
Working in batches, dip 10 slices day-old brioche into batter to coat. Overlap brioche slices in a 9-by-13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish, sprinkling 1 1/2 cups strawberries throughout. Pour remaining batter over top. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top with pistachio streusel. Bake, covered with parchment-lined foil, for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake until top is golden brown and crunchy, 20 to 25 minutes more. Serve with syrup.
To make the syrup, combine the remaining strawberries with the maple syrup and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the strawberries release their juices, about 10 to 15 minutes, and strain.
INGREDIENTS (PISTACHIO STREUSEL)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ounces butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
Using your fingers or a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon and then mix in the butter until crumbly. Add the pistachios. Place on a baking sheet with a silicone mat and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Break apart and mix the streusel up, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Crumble and cool.