When my sister Bridget and I had our little cafe, Aussies, we went out of our way to make the names of our food as fun and interesting as the food tasted. We wanted to serve French Toast, but I had to have something more than bread dipped in egg. I played around with many variations both sweet and savory and this one became the standout favorite. Monkey Toast is thick slices of day old bread (that we baked at the cafe) stuffed with bananas and cinnamon, soaked in vanilla orange custard, sauteed in butter, squirted with fresh orange juice before finishing in the oven. Over the years I've had so many folks ask for the recipe and I finally gathered all the ingredients and made Monkey Toast for the first time since we had the Cafe. Stuffing a moist, sweet hunk of Monkey Toast in my mouth took me right back in time to that little cafe. Those were good years as we made our way through a hard time, we made so many friends and enjoyed it all with loud music, good coffee, fresh oj and delicious food.
2-3 thick slices of day old bread (I used a soft Italian, but you could use Challah or anything you want to)
3/4 cup half and half
butter & cocnut oil
garnish: cinnamon & powdered sugar, syrup
Make the Vanilla Orange Custard
Add the eggs, vanilla extract, plenty of orange zest and the half and half to a large bowl. Whisk it to life. I used our backyard eggs, so my custard is a lovely orangey yellow color.
Smash the Banana
Sprinkle the banana with cinnamon. Use a fork and combine the banana and cinnamon to make a mash.
Make Bread with Pockets
Your bread should be about 2 1/2 inches thick, use a sharp knife to make a pocket in the center of the slice. Use your fingers to gently open the pocket and then stuff it with the cinnamon/banana mash.
Let the bread soak for about 10 minutes, turn it frequently and spoon the custard into the pocket and all over. You want the bread to be saturated. Handle it gently.
Turn on the Heat
While the bread is soaking heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. if you don't have an ovenproof skillet, use a baking sheet. I used my cast iron skillet with about 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
Add your Monkey Toast and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side until golden.
Right before you pop the toast in the oven squeeze all the juice out of a half of an orange, all over the bread. Cookin the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. You want the internal temprature of the bread to be 160. Over 170 and you've cooked the life and love out of it, buy a thermometer.
Plate and serve the Monkey Toast as soon as it comes out of the oven. I mixed some powdered sugar and cinnamon togther and dusted the toast and drizzled it with pancake syrup, it doesn't need butter. The outside is lightly crispy, the custard bread is moist, fragrant and lightly chewy, the bananas and cinnamon, just ooze goodness.
If you make Monkey Toast, be sure to let me know how yours turns out.