Lazy weekend breakfasts à la Pumpkin French Toast are one of the biggest perks of fall and winter mornings. I realize I could swan dive into a tall stack of syrup-soaked, cinnamon-spiced pillows of French toast July through September, but the hotter months make me feel like I should be slurping smoothie bowls and rushing to be outside instead.
Cool fall and winter weekends, on the other hand? They bid you stay in your sweat pants. Hang out a little longer. Absolutely, you need another slice of Pumpkin French Toast.
About This Pumpkin French Toast
Pumpkin French Toast is a recipe for a crisp morning when the only place you need to be is exactly where you are. It’s perfect for a casual weekend at home with your family, an impromptu brunch with friends, or a breakfast you are serving to out-of-town guests. It’s cozy and familiar, but the extra warm spices make it feel special and authentically autumn.
I certainly cannot lay claim to the invention of Pumpkin French Toast, but after reading a slew of recipes online, I knew I wanted my version to be lightened up, without sacrificing the feeling of indulgence that leads me to crave French toast in the first place.
My Pumpkin French Toast healthy solution came in a few parts.
First, I upped the amount of pumpkin puree. Not only does the additional amount ensure that you can taste the pumpkin in every bite, but also since pumpkin is loaded with vitamins, you’re clearly giving yourself license to go in for the extra slice.
Instead of heaps of brown sugar to sweeten the custard, I used a touch of pure maple syrup. It’s more natural, and maple is a lovely, classic pairing with all things pumpkin and fall. By the time I’d drizzled some additional maple syrup on top, I had all the sweetness I needed.
Instead of cream, I used nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt. The yogurt made the custard incredibly rich and decadent without an ounce of extra fat, and it added more protein too. Win!
Finally, I replaced the typical white bread with thick-sliced wheat bread (a.k.a. Texas toast). If you can’t find wheat Texas toast, look for an uncut loaf of wheat sandwich bread in the bakery section of your grocery and cut it into thick slices yourself, or see if the bakery will do it for you.
You can also use regular wheat sandwich bread or go ahead splurge for good-quality white bread if that is what you have available. We’re being wholesome in other regards, and this is a lazy weekend situation, after all.
Ironically, as this post goes to press, I am headed to the land of fruit-for-breakfast, HAWAII! One of my best girlfriends lives in Kauai (we visited her a few years ago—juicy details here) and is getting married. We’ll be spending a few days in Maui before hopping a short flight to Kauai for the wedding festivities.
While I can’t promise that I’ll miss fall with all the island sunshine to distract me, I do know that when I return, I’ll need as much help assimilating back to reality as I can find. Pumpkin French Toast seems like the perfect way to ease the transition.
If you’d like to travel along on our Hawaiian adventures, be sure to follow Well Plated on Instagram. If you make this Pumpkin French Toast, I’d love to see it on YOUR Instagram too! Be sure to tag it #wellplated, and I’ll find it to let you know I’m craving a bite.
French Toast Troubleshooting
- If Your Bread is Very Soft. I recommend letting the pieces sit out for several hours or even overnight to stale slightly. This will help it better absorb the delicious pumpkin custard.
- If You Can’t Find Texas Toast. Look for a loaf of unsliced sandwich bread in the bakery section of your grocery store and slice it yourself (or see if the bakery can do it for you). You can also substitute regular sandwich bread, brioche, challah, or any other bread you enjoy.
Recommended Tools for Making This French Toast
- Electric griddle (also doubles as a panini press). I tried the griddle feature for the first time, and it was SO much easier than the stove.
- That said, if you do want to use the stove, a stovetop griddle works well and makes flipping pancakes and French toast in bigger batches a breeze.
Pumpkin French Toast
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup nonfat milk or any milk you like
- 12 slices Texas toast or other thickly sliced bread, whole wheat if possible*
- Butter canola oil, or nonstick spray, for cooking the French toast
- For serving: Pure maple syrup butter, powered sugar (I also love apple butter and/or peanut butter on mine...in combination with maple syrup)
- To keep the French toast warm between batches, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Set a large, rimmed baking sheet inside the oven.
- In a large, wide baking dish, gently whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Once smooth and combined, whisk in the Greek yogurt and milk, being careful not to slosh the mixture up and over the sides of the pan. The custard will be very thick.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium. To keep the French toast from sticking, melt butter in the pan, swirling to coat, lightly brush the pan with canola oil, or coat with nonstick spray.
- Place 4 slices of the bread in the pumpkin mixture and turn them over and over a few times so that both sides are well coated and the bread absorbs some the custard. Once the pan is hot, gently transfer the 4 slices of the bread to the pan and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the other side is golden, about 2 additional minutes. Adjust the skillet's heat as needed so that the French toast browns nicely but does not burn. Remove to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.
- Repeat with the remaining bread slices, wiping the skillet clean and recoating it as needed to prevent sticking. Enjoy warm with desired toppings.
- *If your bread is very soft, I recommend letting the pieces sit out for several hours or even overnight to stale slightly. This will help it better absorb the delicious pumpkin custard.
- If you can't find Texas toast, look for a loaf of unsliced sandwich bread in the bakery section of your grocery store and slice it yourself (or see if the bakery can do it for you). You can also substitute regular sandwich bread, brioche, challah, or any other bread you enjoy.
- French toast is best enjoyed the day it is made, but it can be stored wrapped in foil or in a ziptop bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat gently in the toaster oven or microwave.
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