Custardy French toast drizzled in pure maple syrup is a cozy, cold-weather breakfast classic. We’ve given this recipe a vegan makeover by swapping out eggs in the batter with mashed banana and a bit of ground flaxseed. This clever swap makes the French toast reminiscent of banana bread. Top it off with a decadent drizzle of raspberry syrup and you’re just a quick stint in the kitchen away from breakfast bliss.
If you don’t have any bananas around, consider swapping for an orange. In blender, add zest of one large orange along with peeled fruit and other batter ingredients. Blend until smooth and proceed with the recipe as described.
In small saucepan, add raspberries, water, and maple syrup before placing over medium heat. Stir until mixture comes to a simmer and let cook, stirring often, until raspberries break down, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Into bowl, strain warm syrup through fine-mesh strainer, using spatula to press mixture through sieve until all seeds have been separated. Set aside to cool. Syrup may be stored in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
To make batter, in large bowl, mash banana; there should be about 1/2 cup (125 mL) total. Whisk in milk, flaxseed, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Preheat large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, generously coat with vegan butter or coconut oil, about 1 Tbsp (15 mL).
Dip 1 piece of bread in batter, letting sit for 5 seconds each side. Transfer immediately to preheated frying pan. Continue process until pan is full. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until an even golden brown. Take care when flipping French toast, as banana mixture can be a bit sticky. Transfer to serving platter and continue process with remaining bread. Add remaining vegan butter or coconut oil to pan if needed.
To serve, divide toast among serving plates and top with orange slices and a drizzle of raspberry syrup. Serve immediately.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.