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Toast de Vandals

By Lenna Ahlers and Echo Heiman

To commemorate the University of Idaho’s 125th Anniversary we chose to have fun with this dessert and place it in a martini glass to salute the universities success. Toast de Vandals is a fun play on words to incorporate French toast in our dessert and toast the university’s success.

Our inspiration for the use of French toast was to take what is traditionally a breakfast item and breathe new life into it in the form of croutons and a base for our dessert.

presented with savory foods at Thanksgiving, we chose to take the cranberries and make a well-balanced ginger cranberry chutney. The acidity of the chutney compliments the sweetness of the overall dessert and lends a splash of vibrant color.

The caramelized baked pears contribute additional texture and provide a golden hue which reflects Vandal colors.

The recipe is inexpensive, easy to adapt, simple to prepare and fun to serve at any gathering. Most importantly, it is delicious!

  • Oven: 375 degrees F 
  • Bake: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 
  • Portion: Approximately 1 ½ cup


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Orange Juice
  • ¼ cup chopped crystalized ginger
  • 4 cups (1- 10oz bag) fresh cranberries or frozen
  • Cornstarch for thickening, if desired
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Bosc Pears, halved and cored
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ loaf of French bread croutons (create using sliced 1- inch thick bread and French toast batter of choice, cut into chunks)


  1. Grease a 9-inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp. of butter. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of sugar over the greased baking dish. Wash and slice pears in half (lengthwise). Place the pears in the baking dish, face down. Rub 1 Tbsp. of butter over the pear halves (skin side up) thoroughly. Then sprinkle another 1 Tbsp. of sugar over the pears evenly. Bake for 10 minutes and start cranberry chutney. 
  2. Combine in a sauce pan; water, ½ cup sugar and ½ tsp. of salt and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 Tbsp. orange juice, crystalized ginger and cranberries. Reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally until cranberries pop and liquid thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. *If using frozen cranberries; reduce water to ¾ cup or add thickener (cornstarch). Remove cranberry chutney from heat and set aside to cool slightly. 
  3. Remove pears from oven and let cool slightly. Then slice the pears lengthwise again in ½ giving you 8 nice size portions (slices.) 
  4. Divide warm French toast croutons into 8 portions and top with 1 small scoop of vanilla ice cream, 1 pear slice and finish with cranberry chutney. Serve and enjoy!

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Advancement Services

Physical Address:

1150 Blake House
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3302

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Dr MS 3302
Moscow, ID 83844-3302

Phone: 208-885-2072