entertaining, food recipes, spring

Recipe :: Basil Rhubarb French Toast!

Now that spring has sprung on both sides of the coast, what better way to celebrate its arrival than with a recipe celebrating its bounty? When Cassandra and I were discussing what sort of seasonal dish to cook up, the conversation quickly turned to rhubarb: spring's produce darling.

challah french toast with basil rhubarb compote and honey ricotta // via coco+kelley

Nothing screams spring, warmth, and emerging sun to me quite as loud as brunch, and naturally, french toast was the first thing that came to mind. Combine that with the thought of rhubarb, and the idea for french toast drenched in an herby, tangy rhubarb compote was born.

Truth be told, I'm a rhubarb rookie, and was a little bit intimidated by the thick, rosy stalks. But, the compote came together in just minutes, and adding a handful of fresh, aromatic leaves like mint or basil, made it really special. We also topped off each piece with a dallop of honeyed ricotta for some creaminess.

challah french toast with basil rhubarb compote and honey ricotta // via coco+kelley

One last little bit of honesty: french toast isn't really french toast unless it's made with a nice, thick cut piece of fluffy bread. We used challah, which absorbs the batter and crisps up beautifully with a touch of butter. Treat yourself to every decadent bite - you deserve it for braving the winter.

French Toast with Honey Ricotta and Basil Compote // serves 4

Rhubarb Compote

  • 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 ½ cups diced strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A handful of basil leaves, coarsely chopped*

Begin by dicing the strawberries and rhubarb  into ½ inch pieces. In the same pot that you'll cook in, cover the fruit with sugar and vanilla. Stir and allow fruit to macerate for 10-15 minutes. Cook the mixture over medium high heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the compote is smooth and thick. Remove from heat, and add in basil. Allow the compote to cool down slightly, and discard the basil leaves before serving.

challah french toast with basil rhubarb compote and honey ricotta // via coco+kelley

Honey Vanilla Ricotta

  • 10 oz ricotta
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp honey

Mix all ingredients together gently and refrigerate until serving.

Challah French Toast

  • 8 thick slices of challah bread
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup  whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp butter

challah french toast with basil rhubarb compote and honey ricotta // via coco+kelley

Set your oven to 200F. Mix the ingredients for the batter and distribute into a wide, shallow bowl or a lipped plate. Allow the slices of challah to soak in the batter on both sides. In a large pan,  heat a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat and cook the french toast until nicely browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the french toast to a plate or a tray and place in the oven while you prepare the second batch. Serve warm, topped with honey-ricotta and rhubarb compote.

challah french toast with basil rhubarb compote and honey ricotta // via coco+kelley

*Note: We tried this recipe with both basil and mint, and both were delicious! 
photography :: meghan klein for coco+kelley  // recipe :: natasha snowden