I know, I know, “pumpkin everything”. Personally, I do love pumpkin, but I’m not as liberal about it as some. It has its time and place, and I do think on a brunch plate is one.  
This recipe can be made using a store-bought or homemade pumpkin loaf, but it’s important to know one fundamental difference: preservatives. Store-bought baked goods will go stale much slower than a homemade counterpart that doesn’t contain preservatives. That can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. In this particular recipe, stale, dry bread is the key to getting it right. If you don’t let the moist slices of pumpkin loaf dry before submerging them in the milk and eggs, you will end up with wet, soggy French toast that falls apart if you just look at it wrong. 
Drying out homemade bread slices won’t take as much time as purchased product will, but both are very easy. There are two methods to dry out the slices.
      A. Time: Place pumpkin bread slices on a cooling rack that has been placed in a rimmed baking sheet. Leave these out at room temperature overnight for homemade, or 3-4 days for store-bought. If you’re worried about sneaky pets getting to your will-be breakfast, just store the drying slices in an off oven until they’re ready.
      B. Heat: Preheat oven to 200°. Place pumpkin bread slices on a cooling rack that has been placed in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the bread is dry to the touch, about 10-15 minutes for homemade, or 20-25 minutes for store-bought. Cool the bread completely before they touch any eggs or milk.

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

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Makes 6 slices

1 loaf pumpkin loaf
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg, beaten
3/4 cup half & half or whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tsp spiced rum (optional)

Trim heels away from each end of the pumpkin bread loaf. Slice loaf into 6 thick slices. Dry bread according to above instructions. 
Combine egg yolks and whole egg, vanilla, milk, salt, and spiced rum. Mix thoroughly until no clumps of egg white remain. Pour mixture into a small casserole pan or wide bowl. Place a cooling rack over part of the bowl, or in a rimmed baking sheet. This will catch any drips.
Place two slices of bread into mixture and count to ten. Flip slices over and count to ten again. Move soaked bread up to cooling rack so the excess milk can drip back into the dish. Let slices rest on cooling rack for 5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium high heat. Just before cooking, melt 2 Tbsp butter or add cooking spray to the pan. After soaked slices have rested, flip them over and place them in the pan so the more “dry” side faces down. Cook until slice easily releases from the pan and is golden brown. Flip and cook the other side the same way. Keep French toast warm in a low oven until ready to serve. Repeat soaking, resting, and browning steps with remaining bread slices.

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