French toast is SO much better when made with a thick bread like challah. Plus, you can make the challah yourself to make it all that more delicious (and impressive)! Wait a day or two after baking to make this luxurious breakfast with the added bonus of fresh figs.
Fig and Ricotta Challah French Toast [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Challah Bread Dough:
- 1 cup warm water, about 108°F (microwave for about 30 seconds)
- 1 4-teaspoon packet active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
- 2 cups sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
- 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
For the Challah Bread Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
For the Challah Bread French Toast:
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 thick slices challah (from recipe above or store-bought)
For the Sweet Ricotta:
- 1 8-ounce package hemp tofu, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons coconut nectar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon chickpea miso paste
- 1 teaspoon sunflower seed butter (see below)
- 8 fresh figs, sliced
For the Sunflower Seed Butter:
- 2 cups raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
- Grade B maple syrup
- Coconut nectar
- Hemp seeds
To Make the Challah Bread:
- Preheat the oven to 200°F and then turn it off. Line a 15×13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To make the dough: Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Add the coconut nectar and stir to combine. Let the yeast mixture sit for about 8 minutes, or until foamy.
- Whisk together the sorghum flour, tapioca flour, chickpea flour, sweet white rice flour, psyllium husk powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
- Add the pumpkin puree and coconut milk to the yeast mixture, stir to combine, and then pour into the flour mixture. Mix together until a dough forms.
- Transfer the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, and divide the dough evenly into three 12-inch-long strands. Pinch the strands together at one end. Cross the ends in the middle one at a time to make a simple braid, and then pinch the ends together on the other side.
- Cover with a clean dishtowel and place the braided dough in the oven for 1 hour to rise.
- Take the risen dough out of the oven, remove the dishtowel, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
- To make the glaze: Mix together the coconut milk and molasses in a small bowl. Brush the challah with the glaze, and sprinkle the top with the chia seeds.
- Place an 8×8-inch pan filled with ice cubes on the lower rack of the oven to help crisp up the crust.
- Bake the challah until the crust turns golden brown and it feels firm to the touch, about 40 minutes.
- Transfer the baking sheet from the oven to a wire rack, and let it sit for 30 minutes before removing the challah for a complete cool down.
- Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
To Make the Sunflower Seed Butter:
- Add the sunflower seeds to a large skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sunflower seeds turn a light golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- After they cool, place the sunflower seeds in a food processor. Blend the seeds until they start to come together. Scrape down the flyaway seeds and keep processing until a smooth paste starts to form. This may take up to 25 minutes. The heat from the food processor brings out the natural oils from the sunflower seeds, so there is no need to add any oil. Give your food processor a break about halfway through so it doesn’t burn out.
- Transfer the sunflower seed butter to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for about 2 months.
To Make the Challah Bread French Toast:
- To make the French toast: Whisk together the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, coconut nectar, coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pour this mixture into a 13×9-inch casserole dish and place the challah slices in the dish to soak up the liquid, about 40 minutes. Turn over the challah slices halfway through soaking.
- To make the sweet ricotta: Mix together the tofu, coconut nectar, nutritional yeast, miso, and sunflower seed butter in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Add the ricotta to a medium sauté pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the tofu mixture from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Clean the sauté pan.
- Place two of the challah slices in the sauté pan over medium heat and cook until the bottom is golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Flip the challah over and cook for another 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining slices.
- Top each challah slice with the ricotta mixture and then top with the fig slices.
- Serve immediately with any or all of the suggested toppings.
Challah bread recipe yields 12 slices of bread. Sunflower seed butter recipe yields 1 1/4 cups of seed butter. From Sweet, Savory, and Free by Debbie Adler https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Savory-Free-Delicious-Plant-Based/dp/1944648046/?tag=onegrepla-20