Celebrate Fat Tuesday and toast to the end of Mardi Gras with Half & Half’s King Cake French Toast brunch special
It’s not Mardi Gras without beads, Hurricanes, jazz music, parades, and King Cake. While we weren’t able to get our hands on an authentic King Cake this year, thanks to Half & Half, the weekend brunch hotspot in Clayton, we got our fix by means of King Cake French Toast.
King Cake has long been part of New Orleans culture. Twelve days after Christmas, Christians celebrate the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ child, otherwise known as the Epiphany. It marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras season that lasts until Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. A popular custom during this celebratory season was to bake a special cake, called King Cake, in honor of the three kings.
In the traditional sense, King Cake is a rich Danish dough braided into an oval or ring, baked, inserted with a plastic baby to represent the Christ child, glazed with vanilla icing, and decorated with purple-, green- and gold-colored sugars. If you’ve never had this classic New Orleans sweet treat, it’s basically a cinnamon roll dressed up in sparkly sugar for Mardi Gras.
Half & Half kicked it up a notch by King Cake-ifying their ever-popular French toast, giving us a socially acceptable reason to eat King Cake before noon. Think soft, thick slices of brioche soaked in custard and griddled in butter before being topped with a compote of bourbon, apple, cinnamon, pecans, and raisins, glazed with vanilla icing, and sprinkled with sugar in vibrant hues of purple, green and gold.
It’s as pretty as it is tasty.
Having rounded out the sweetness of the King Cake French Toast with spicy Cajun shrimp & grits, which was covered with crawfish étouffée and sunny side up eggs, and washed down by a Bloody Mary and mimosa, all that was missing from our NOLA-inspired brunch were the beignets. Fat Tuesday — err, Sunday — indeed.
Don’t write off this King Cake French Toast as simply French toast frosted with vanilla icing and sprinkled with festive sugar. There’s actually a lot of texture and taste combinations at play here. The crunch of the sprinkling sugar texturally offsets the softness of the bread. The bourbon-apple-cinnamon compote and light-handed drizzle of vanilla glaze adds just a hint of sweetness without having to douse the dish with syrup. The bites of pecans and raisins at random keep the King Cake French Toast interesting so you rarely have the same forkful twice.
Whatever your Fat Tuesday plans may be, rework them to include this Mardi Gras-themed brunch at Half & Half. The King Cake French Toast is that good.
Don’t believe us? Half & Half’s King Cake French Toast has USA Today’s stamp of approval, too.
The only way Half & Half could possibly improve upon King Cake French Toast would be making French toast from actual slices of King Cake. Sure, it sounds over the top, but isn’t that what Fat Tuesday is all about? Should Half & Half ever go that route, we’ll be first in line to try devour it. Or better yet, maybe we’ll tackle testing that recipe ourselves.
If You Go …
Half & Half
8135 Maryland Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63105