French toast with strawberries—and tomatoes? Nikki Dinki does it in her recipe for her French toast, drizzled over with maple-cream cheese icing. Tomatoes are fruits, after all!
Tomato + Strawberry French Toast With Maple–Cream Cheese Icing
At this point we all know that a tomato is technically a fruit, but do we really believe that it is? I first served this dish at an event where many questioned the place tomatoes had sitting next to strawberries atop their French toast. It’s human nature to question things, and it can also be human nature to be afraid of new things. But sometimes if we stop asking so many questions, stop analyzing everything, and just dig in and eat the darn thing, we would realize just how good something like this is. We would see how an ever-so slightly acidic tomato brightens up and complements sweet food. Still don’t believe me? OK, be here in five; I’m making you French toast.
8 slices toast; about 1/2 cup icing
Maple–Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Strawberry French Toast Ingredients
- 1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Eight 3/4-inch-thick slices challah, or other white bread
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Chopped fresh mint leaves, for serving
For the Maple–Cream Cheese Icing
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter and cream cheese until combined. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla, beating until a smooth icing forms. Set aside while you make the French toast.
For the Strawberry French Toast
1. Put the tomatoes, strawberries, and granulated sugar in a medium bowl and gently stir together.
2. Whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl until well combined. Submerge the bread slices in the egg mixture and let them soak for at least 2 minutes.
3. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Melt the butter in the pan, spreading it evenly over the surface. Working in batches if necessary, arrange the bread slices in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides and firm in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
4. To serve, place 2 slices of toast on each plate. Spoon the tomatoes and strawberries over them. Drizzle or spread the icing on top (you can put it in a squeeze bottle if you want to get a piped effect) and sprinkle with some chopped mint.
Keep It Simple
• I like half-and-half in this recipe because it creates a thick and rich custard; alternatively, you could use heavy cream for a similar consistency. Considering you’ve got a killer icing on this French toast, you could instead lighten things up a bit by using buttermilk, 2 percent, or 1 percent milk.
• The nutmeg gives a touch of warmth to the French toast, but it is totally optional; don’t worry if you don’t have any or don’t like it.
• Grape tomatoes work best for this as they are generally extra sweet, and as this is a sweeter dish you don’t want a tomato that’s too acidic.
French toast with a serving of veggies, what more could you ask for? The quartered tomatoes blend in really well with the strawberries, but if you’re afraid your kids will pick them out, try finely chopping the strawberries and tomatoes: they will just see red deliciousness and won’t think twice. A little extra icing is always a hit, too.
(Recipe from “Meat on the Side: Delicious Vegetable-Focused Recipes for Every Day” by Nikki Dinki, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016)