Hawaiian-inspired French toast with coconut syrup

Take one part doughnut, one part coconut, add sweet bread and spiced batter ... and have a vacation at breakfast

Topics: Kitchen Challenge, Food,

Hawaiian-inspired French toast with coconut syrup

What would be your last wish on your final morning in Hawaii? Catch the sunrise? A last-minute dip into the Pacific? Or perhaps one last exploration of tide pools, looking for crabs, starfish and sea turtles?

After a glorious week in the sun, while the rest of us were still asleep to the hypnotic sounds of waves, the breeze gently blowing through palm trees, and the lazy whir of the ceiling fan, my husband woke up quietly to sneak out for his one last wish. He drove 45 minutes (each way) to get a dozen malasadas. That’s the kind of guy he is.

Malasadas are the yeasty, eggy, sugary doughnuts that were introduced to the Hawaiian islands by Portuguese immigrants from the Azores generations ago. Eagerly incorporated into the cuisine of the Hawaiian islands, each island has a “best” place to get them. On the Big Island, that place is Tex Drive In, in Honokaa, near Waimea.

To the casual observer, the malasada looks like a typical raised doughnut, rolled in granulated sugar. Stace, one of the kama’aina (locals) I talked to, shed some light on what makes Tex’s malasada special: the first owners converted their recipe for pao doce (Portuguese sweet bread) and used it to make their mouth-watering and award-winning malasadas.

My husband arrived back with the box of malasadas just as the rest of us were waking up, and we quickly devoured them. That’s how you can eat on vacation — without consequences.

Back home, I wanted to make a Sunday brunch to remind us of Hawaii, which we miss too much already, but I don’t do much deep-frying in my kitchen. Thinking back to Stace, Tex’s malasadas, and the Portuguese immigrants who brought their sweet bread and malasadas to another heavenly island home, I made a not-too-guilty replacement: Portuguese sweet bread French toast with coconut syrup.

Portuguese-Hawaiian sweet bread French toast with coconut syrup

Sweet bread makes excellent French toast because of its eggy, light and slightly chewy texture. I made this version with guava- and taro-flavored sweet bread we brought back with us from Punalu’u Bake Shop, which by being located 30 minutes South of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Na’alehu is known as the “Southernmost Bakery in the U.S.A.” King’s Hawaiian bread or rolls, readily available in all major grocers on the mainland, make a great substitution. Hawaiian coconut syrup is more difficult to come by, so I’ve made a recipe you can make from ingredients easily found anywhere.

You Might Also Like

Ingredients

For coconut syrup

  • 1 can (13- or 14-ounce) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup simple syrup (made of equal amounts of granulated white sugar and water, boiled together)
  • pinch of salt

For French toast

  • 1 pound loaf of Hawaiian sweet bread (or rolls), such as King’s Hawaiian
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of a lemon, lime or tangerine
  • butter, as needed for griddle or pan

Directions

For coconut syrup

  1. Whisk together coconut milk, simple syrup and salt in a saucepan, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
  2. The syrup is ready when boiled, but you can reduce to desired thickness by continuing to cook over low heat, stirring frequently.

For French toast

  1. Slice sweet bread into desired size slices.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk and seasonings.
  3. Heat griddle or pan to medium-high and grease with a small amount of butter.
  4. Dip slices of sweet bread into egg mixture, then cook on griddle for a minute or so on each side, until nicely golden.
  5. Serve with coconut syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>