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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove pears from oven and let cool slightly. Then slice the pears lengthwise again in ½ giving you 8 nice size portions (slices.)
- 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!