Christmas French Toast with a Fresh Strawberry Compote and Maple Syrup

By Unna Burch

The Forest Cantina


Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes


For the compote 

450g strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour

For the French toast 

6 Otaika Valley Free-Range Eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Either individual panettone or one larger loaf.  Alternatively, brioche or challah works beautifully as well.

Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Neutral flavoured oil + butter for cooking

To serve 
Pure maple syrup
Icing sugar (optional)

Note: This compote can be made in advance if kept in the fridge. For the compote, wash and hull the strawberries, leaving smaller ones whole, cutting medium ones in half and larger ones into 3rds or quarters – a compote should have nice chunky bits of fruit.


Add these to a pot with the orange juice and sugar and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the fruit is soft but still holding its shape. At this stage, taste the compote and check sweetness. I left mine so it wasn’t so sweet, so we could add maple syrup, but if you want it a little sweet just add some more sugar to taste and stir until it is dissolved.

To thicken the compote, mix 1 tablespoon of cornflower with 1 tablespoon of cold water, add this to the pot and cook for 30 seconds while stirring. Remove the compote from the heat, set aside and cool completely.

For the French toast, pre-heat the oven to around 120C. Then to prepare the bread, cut the very outer edges off the panettone, just so more of the eggy mixture can get in, then slice into 2.5cm thick pieces and set them aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, vanilla and orange zest. Put a cast-iron skillet or hot pate on to heat, on medium-high heat. While the pan is coming up to heat, dunk the panettone into the eggy mixture so it is well covered. Don’t leave it in too long, as I found if I did this, the bread started to break.


Once the pan is hot, reduce to medium heat, and add a drizzle of neutral flavoured oil and a knob of butter – you want the butter for flavour, and the oil to stop the butter from burning. Cook the French toast for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, and keep these warm in the preheated oven while you finish the remaining pieces.

To serve, have a few pieces of the French toast with the strawberry compote, maple syrup and if you want, a dusting of icing sugar. I use my tea strainer as an icing sugar duster.

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