Coconut Babka French Toast (Air Fryer Recipe included)

Thanks to Gail’s Bakery for generously gifting me some of their delicious new vegan pastries to try out, I’ve got a bit of leftover babka to play around with which resulted in this Coconut Babka French Toast recipe! One of the most obvious ways of using up leftover stale bread is to make French Toasts and babka is honestly one of the best bread choices for it.

Gail’s Bakery’s babka is of sticky date and coconut flavour plus with a subtle zesty touch (it’s really good by the way – you can read more about it on my Instagram post). So I decided to play on the coconut element more and switch things up from a regular french toast recipe by using coconut milk for the custard and a desiccated coconut coating. I absolutely adored the result. There is a really nice subtle coconut-y fragrance seeping through from every bite of the coconut babka french toast and the desiccated coconut coating adds a lot of texture as well. The coconut obviously paired well with the sticky date filling but this recipe completely works for any other bread flavours – plain, chocolate, etc. they all would work like a charm.

Maple syrup pouring over coconut babka french toast

How to make Coconut Babka French Toast

An extra bonus here for this coconut babka french toast. Apart from the traditional pan-frying method, I’ve also tested out cooking the french toast with an air fryer! It turned out fantastic and I just love that it presents an alternative method to make french toasts. Keep reading to find out how.

Ingredients:

  • Stale Babka – see recipe notes below on why you’d want to use stale bread
  • Coconut Milk, Double Cream, Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla Essence – for making the custard
  • Desiccated Coconut – the coating
  • Cooking Oil – needed for both pan-frying or air fryer method
  • Maple Syrup – to serve
Babka Slices

Recipe notes

  • It is recommended to use slightly stale bread when making French Toast. This is because the lightly hardened texture of stale bread is best for soaking up the custard without going soggy and creates the perfect creamy & custardy texture for the final dish.
  • Allow the stale bread slices to soak in the custard for about 10-15 minutes before cooking. If it’s not properly soaked through, then you only get a custard coating on the outside while the inside would very much still be bread. On the other hand, if you let it soak for too long, the bread will get all soggy instead and you won’t be able to achieve a lightly crispy exterior.
  • You can totally substitute the babka with a different type of bread. The likes of Brioche, Challah, Japanese Shokupan, Milk Bread, etc. are very popular picks for making French Toasts. Regardless of the bread type, the ‘stale bread rule’ applies. Though do note that the soaking times may differ with each different type of bread as each bread’s density & texture are different. The ideal bread texture after soaking should be soft and sponge-like but not falling apart.
  • Cook your french toast over medium heat. Too hot, the exterior will start to burn while the interior remains uncooked. Not hot enough, it wouldn’t be able to crisp up and will turn out soggy.
A plate of Coconut Babka French Toast

How to make French Toast with an Air Fryer

Yes, you can totally make some really delicious French Toast using an air fryer! Everything’s the same through the preparation steps and recipe notes. It’s simply a matter of doing the actual cooking part in an air fryer instead of firing up your stove for pan-frying. Flavour-wise, there aren’t any huge differences – perhaps the air fryer version tastes just a teeny bit lighter as it uses less oil, but that’s a really minor difference in my opinion. Cooking french toast with an air fryer is a little bit quicker than pan-frying but not a major advantage.

Here are some tips to help you make the perfect air fryer french toast:

  • Preheat your air fryer. Similarly to pan-frying, you want the french toast to start cooking straightaway to get that crispy texture on the outside. That’s why you’d want to preheat your air fryer to the right temperature before putting in the french toast to cook.
  • Flip your french toast slices halfway through. This helps the french toast to cook more evenly.
  • Don’t forget to brush oil over the french toast. This helps to prevent the french toast from burning on the outside and to give it a luscious golden colour!

Looking for more breakfast recipe inspo? Check these out too:

A plate of Coconut Babka French Toast

Coconut Babka French Toast

ET Food Voyage
Switch up your usual breakfast with this Coconut Babka French Toast, using coconut milk custard and coated with desiccated coconut!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine European
Servings 8 slices
Calories 261 kcal

Equipment

  • Frying Pan or Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

  • 8 slices Babka
  • ½ cup Coconut Milk
  • ¼ cup Double Cream
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 medium Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1 cup Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • Maple Syrup to serve

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, whisk together coconut milk, double cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla essence.
    ½ cup Coconut Milk, ¼ cup Double Cream, 3 tbsp Sugar, 2 medium Eggs, 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • Drench Babka slices into the egg mixture. Soak for 10 minutes until the bread has this soaked spongy texture.
    8 slices Babka
  • Place desiccated coconut in a shallow bowl and fully coat each soaked babka slice.
    1 cup Desiccated Coconut

If cooking with pan

  • Heat oil on a pan over medium heat. Fry the french toast for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden in colour.
    1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • Remove from pan. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve immediately.
    Maple Syrup

If cooking with air fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer to 160°C.
  • Brush a layer of oil over the air fryer basket and place the french toast slices into it. Do not overcrowd.
  • Brush oil over the french toast slices and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Then flip the french toast slices, brush with more oil if needed, and cook for another 3 minutes until golden in colour.
  • Remove from air fryer. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use slightly stale bread for making French Toast because the lightly hardened texture of stale bread is best for soaking up the custard without going soggy and creates the perfect creamy & custardy texture for the final dish.
  • Do not skim on soaking time for the bread slices to soak up the custard. If it’s not properly soaked through, then you only get a custard coating on the outside while the inside would very much still be ‘bread’. On the other hand, if you let it soak for too long, the bread will get all soggy instead.
  • The ideal bread texture after soaking should be soft and sponge-like but not falling apart.
  • You can totally substitute the babka with a different type of bread – try Brioche, Challah, Japanese Shokupan, Milk Bread, etc.
  • Regardless of the bread type, the ‘stale bread rule’ applies. Though do note that the soaking times may differ with each different type of bread as each bread’s density & texture are different. 
  • Cook your french toast over medium heat. Too hot, the exterior will start to burn while the interior remains uncooked. Not hot enough, it wouldn’t be able to crisp up and will turn out soggy.
Air Fryer Tips
  • Preheat your air fryer. Similarly to pan-frying, you want the french toast to start cooking straight away to get that crispy texture on the outside. That’s why you’d want to preheat your air fryer to the right temperature before putting in the french toast to cook.
  • Flip your french toast slices halfway through. This helps the french toast to cook more evenly.
  • Don’t forget to brush oil over the french toast. This helps to prevent the french toast from burning on the outside and to give it a luscious golden colour!
Keyword Babka, Breakfast, Coconut, French Toast

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Coconut Babka French Toast Recipe

1 Comment

  1. Maria P.

    5 stars
    Love this! Babka’s the best

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