While visiting friends in Phoenix, we had brunch at Chico Malo. For now, it is just the local Mexican/South American restaurant around the corner but keep an eye on this one. The Group that owns it is about to explode on the scene. Chico Malo literally means “bad boy” in Spanish. The menu is only good things but with a bad boy edge. The food was AMAZING!! Each item on the menu sounded better than the next. I loved that they aren’t trying to re-invent who they are with a whole new menu, for brunch.  There are things like burritos and Chimichangas and in some cases, they turn those up.

Everything we ordered was great, but I can’t get my mind off the Nana Marcella’s Drunken French Toast. I’m going to do my best to duplicate. The presentation was so beautiful and the melding of flavors so incredible. The long pieces of baguette and caramelized bananas were stacked as if building a campfire. I learned from the menu that the bread had been soaked in a tres leches bath that not only enhanced the flavor but softened the tough crust to make it easy to cut with a fork. The 5-spice butter was the perfect balance of flavors to cut the fat in the butter while giving a blend of spices that danced all around my tongue, finally landing at the back with just a hint of heat. I had my idea of what the spices were but a quick visit with the General Manager confirmed allspice, cloves, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon.

These two hints gave me the start I needed to play mad scientist in the kitchen. I mixed eggs into the tres leches bath and I let the bread soak overnight. I did the same thing with the butter.  I played around with amounts of each spice until I felt they all shined but the heat from the cinnamon was what you remembered. And so, I began.  A couple of things I would be sure of before I started. When cutting your baguette, make sure your pieces will fit comfortably in the pan. You want them long but not so long that they fall apart when they are in the pan. Have everything you need to “build” the dish ready to go before you start cooking. This dish is better served hot, so don’t waste time getting everything together at the end. I noticed when I looked at the picture of the recipe again that there is a pool of tres leches under the toast then syrup. I ordered the Aged Rum Syrup and piloncillo from Amazon. You can probably get the piloncillo at a Latin market and make your own rum syrup by adding rum to maple syrup and reducing until the right thickness.

This dish was such a decadent start to the day. It was rich and the Mimosa I had helped to ease the richness. This is a great breakfast to share or even multiply for a breakfast buffet.


Chico Malo - Nana's Drunken French Toast
Print Recipe
Servings
1 but share
Servings
1 but share
Chico Malo - Nana's Drunken French Toast
Print Recipe
Servings
1 but share
Servings
1 but share
Ingredients
5-spice butter
Garnish
Servings: but share
Instructions
  1. Slice the baguette, lengthwise, about 1/2" thick
  2. Whisk together milks and heavy cream with eggs.
  3. Soak bread in mixture for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Cream together spices and salted butter. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together extra condensed milk and heavy cream. Set aside.
  6. Heat 1 T. vegetable oil and 1 T. butter, in pan, over medium heat. If you have a griddle it is better.
  7. Cook bread until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.
  8. Flood serving plate with extra cream/milk mixture.
  9. Stack "toast" upward, as if you were building a campfire, over sauce.
  10. Place sliced bananas on "toast" and sprinkle, just bananas, with granulated sugar.
  11. Using a kitchen torch, caramelized sugar on bananas.
  12. Pour some aged rum syrup over whole dish and add a dollop of 5-spice butter on side of plate. Grate some extra piloncillo over whole dish.
  13. Serve immediately!
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