Hawaiian Island Sweet Bread French Toast with Coconut Syrup

By Beautiful, Memorable Food
July 26, 2015
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Author Notes: No matter how many times we have visited, my family has a special love for Hawaii. When we can't be there, we try to bring back the aloha by creating island flavors in our kitchen. Portuguese sweet bread, very popular on the islands, makes excellent French toast because of its eggy, light and slightly chewy texture. I made this version with guava and taro flavored sweet bread we brought back with us from Punalu’u Bake Shop, which by being located 30 minutes South of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Na’alehu is known as the “Southernmost Bakery in the U.S.A.” King’s Hawaiian bread or rolls, readily available in all major grocers on the mainland, make a great substitution. Hawaiian coconut syrup, easily found in Hawaii, is more difficult to come by off island, so I’ve made a recipe you can make from ingredients easily found anywhere.Beautiful, Memorable Food

Serves: 4 to 6

Portuguese Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast

  • 1 pound loaf Portuguese or Hawaiian sweet bread
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • grated zest of a lime, lemon, calamansi or tangerine
  • butter for griddle or pan
  1. Heat griddle or pan to medium-high and grease with a small amount of butter.
  2. Slice sweet bread into desired size slices.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, and seasonings.
  4. Dip slices of sweet bread into egg mixture, then cook on griddle for a minute or so on each size, until nicely golden.
  5. Serve with coconut syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Hawaiian Coconut Syrup

  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Make a simple syrup: boil together sugar and water until dissolved.
  2. Whisk together coconut milk, 1 cup of simple syrup and salt in a saucepan, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. The syrup is ready when boiled, but you can reduce to desired thickness by continuing to cook over low heat, stirring frequently.

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