One of my favorite brunch spots used to be Milagro Cantina, here in Kirkland. And then they stopped carrying brunch. And then I became vegan and didn’t eat most of the things on their old brunch menu anyway. But that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of their Pan Dulce (fancy Spanish for French Toast). So a few weeks ago when Vedged Out posted a recipe for French Toast I gave it a whirl—and then I adapted it to have all of those Latin flavors that my family loves so much!
One of the things that makes this so special is the use of horchata (silent “h”), a popular Mexican rice milk drink. I made my own (it was EASY), but you could use your favorite non dairy milk and just up the cinnamon a touch for a similar taste. Although, after you make your own horchata it will become a staple in your kitchen. David had 3 sippy cups full last night. And, good mama that I am, I saved him the last cup for him to have for breakfast this morning. And then this morning thought to myself that he probably didn’t remember it so I drank it instead. Right in front of him. How much longer can I get away with this kind of stuff?
I used a Pepita loaf that I found at Whole Foods—the pumpkin seeds fit the time of year and the Latin flavors. You could use any kind of “bakery” bread, but sandwich bread is a little soft for my taste. If you do use sandwich bread, toast it first, don’t let it sit in the milk mixture (just a quick dip) and it willbe fine. And if you use thicker, tougher bread, let it soak up a little bit of the mixture to keep it soft. Play with it until you get the right balance.
This meal is perfect for breakfast (that’s obvious, right?), but David and I enjoyed it for dinner last night, piled up with caramelized bananas. Irving is out of town, and you know I love breakfast for dinner, so we went for it! And then we had it again for breakfast. Hope you love it as much as we do!
Pan Dulce with Homemade Horchata
1 loaf of bread, see note above
1 c horchata, see recipe below
3 T garbanzo flour, also called besan, and found in the bulk section, or middle eastern market, regular flour could substitute, although the garbanzo flour gives it a true eggy French Toast taste)
1 T cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 t grated orange zest (I used the zest of one full clementine/Satsuma)
2 T maple syrup
1 banana per person
Mix garbanzo flour, cornstarch, and cinnamon together. Add about ¼ c milk and mix thoroughly into a paste. Add the rest of the milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and orange zest and mix well. Pour into a shallow dish.
Heat coconut oil in a non stick skillet over medium heat until melted. Dip bread into milk mixture on both sides and then place in hot pan. Grill each side until golden brown, then remove from pan. Repeat with all slices.
In a separate pan, heat a little more oil and add sliced bananas. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over bananas to taste. Let caramelize a bit and then turn off heat.
When ready to serve, place bananas on top of pan dulce, sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar if desired. And of course, serve with a glass of horchata! Enjoy!
Horchata, ever so slightly adapted from David Lebovitz
2/3 cup white rice
3 cups warm water
One 2-inch cinnamon stick
¼ c maple syrup or agave
2 cups rice milk
In a blender, grind the rice so it is in fine pieces, roughly the consistency of very coarse polenta. (If your blender won’t go that fine, that’s okay and just break up the rice as much as possible.)
Transfer the rice to a bowl then pour warm water over it and add the cinnamon stick. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, but preferably overnight.
Remove the cinnamon stick then puree the rice and water until it’s as smooth as possible. Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth, squeezing it relatively firmly to extract as much of the rice flavor as possible.
Stir in the sweetener and milk, mixing until well blended. Taste, and adjust sweetness, if necessary. Refrigerate until completely chilled. As with any plant based milk, give it a good shake or stir before consuming.