I was buying some bread at Movida Bakery on Saturday morning when I noticed that they had beautiful shiny loaves of freshly made brioche. I suddenly felt inspired to make custard filled french toast.
2 packham pears, ripe but unblemished
1 vanilla bean
Creme Patissiere (you’ll have loads to spare)
225ml thickened cream
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
60g egg yolk (about 3)
French toast assembly
1/2 loaf store bough brioche block loaf
2 eggs, whisked well
1 tbs butter
cinnamon sugar to dust
Peel pears, chop in half and gently scoop out core.
Place sugar, vanilla bean and water in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the pears to the syrup, place a circle of baking paper over the top to keep the pears immersed in the liquid. Simmer for 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Place a tight fitting lid over the pears and allow to cool in the syrup for 1 hour.
Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer.
In a large bowl, whisk the remaining sugar and all of the cornflour into the egg yolk until pale and thick.
Strain a little of the hot milk mixture through a sieve into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue straining in the milk mixture, bit by bit, and whisking.
Pour the mixture back into the pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking all the time until the creme patissiere is thick and shiny.
Remove from the heat and keep whisking as it cools. It is now ready to use. If not using immediately, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.
Cut the brioche into 4 thick even rectangles (about 1.5 inches thick), cutting all crusts off. Put the creme patissiere into a piping bag with a thin plain nozzle. Gently ease the nozzle into the side of the brioche and pipe as much creme patissiere in as you can. repeat on the other side and with the 3 remaining pieces.
Dip all sides of the brioche in the beaten egg. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and cook the brioche for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with poached pear on the side.