With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation via transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world. Here, how to make Disney’s Tonga Toast with a twist—the best french toast you’ll ever eat.
If you’ve never had the pleasure, Tonga Toast is a super-thick, banana-stuffed, cinnamon-sugar coated version of french toast served at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s been a favorite since 1971, but you don’t have to be a paying guest to enjoy it.
Brioche would also work; ditto any loaf with a reasonably tender crust. Whatever bread you go with, the key is to cut extra-thick slices, so you’ll need a whole loaf about 12 inches long—which will give you four servings. You’ll partially hollow out each out slice to make a home for the banana; save the leftover bread innards for fresh breadcrumbs, which you can toast as a garnish on pasta or salad or use as a binder in meatballs.
Since the toast is fried in quite a bit of oil, you’ll need a large, deep pot (a Dutch oven will work well and give you plenty of extra room).
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A candy thermometer will also help you keep the oil at the right temperature so your toast doesn’t burn. If you have an actual deep fryer, you can use that instead!
Related Reading: How to Deep Fry Like a Pro Even if It’s Your First Time
How to Make Tonga Toast
This is adapted from the official recipe to use challah in place of the original sourdough.
For the Cinnamon Sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the Tonga Toast
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 quart canola oil
- 1 loaf sourdough, challah, or brioche (uncut, about 12 inches long)
- 2 large, ripe bananas, peeled
1. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl (large enough to roll the toast) with a fork until thoroughly blended. Set aside.
2. Make the batter. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl (large enough to dip the toast) with a fork until well blended. Add milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
3. Preheat oil to 350°F in a large pot over medium heat, or in a deep fryer. If using a pot, use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil does not get too hot.
4. Cut the bread into four slices, each about three inches thick. Set aside.
5. Cut each banana in half crosswise, then each piece in half lengthwise (for eight pieces total). Set aside.
6. Make a slit in the top of one slice of bread with a knife, being careful not to cut all the way through to the counter. Tear out some of the bread inside to make space for the banana.
7. Stuff two pieces of banana into the bread. Set aside, then repeat the process with the remaining three slices of bread and six pieces of banana.
8. Working with one stuffed slice at a time, dip bread into batter, fully covering both sides. Allow excess batter to drip off back into bowl.
9. Carefully place bread into hot oil. Cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown. If the oil doesn’t cover the bread, carefully turn it over after 2 minutes and continue cooking other side.
10. Remove bread from oil and place on paper towels to drain.
11. While still hot, roll in cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a low oven while you finish cooking the rest of the toast.
12. Repeat steps 8-11 for the remaining three slices of stuffed bread.
Header image courtesy of Olivia Geyelin