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At the last night of 2014, I sat across the face of a dilemma.  Motionless, in front of me, was a glass of tequila shot.

Right there, I could either go down the history in my last early-30’s-year, smoothly like how it had always been in the past, as the mature… collected… restrained grown-up who likes to wake up to a brand new year with lucidity and purpose.  Or, I could burn through the last breath of my defensive youth, in the last stand to prove that this new… cool… age-defying woman still knows how to spell f-u-n and p-a-r-t-y, looks fabulous in smudged mascara not schmaltz, and knows that this glittered paper-cone was for my head and not popcorns…

In the first morning of 2015, as the first light came into my blurred vision… so did the “rest of the party”.  Raging headache, stinging chest-cough, inflamed sinus… and a really loud ringing silence in my head, I could only be glad that I didn’t have to hear my own muted, bled-out voice…  Is your first lesson of a brand new year… always the same one, and never learnt?  → Too old for this shit.

Thank goodness that I had most part of this recipe prepared before I headed out yesterday, and the only thing left to do for my crippled existence today, is to stuff 4 slices of really thick but pillowy milk-toasts with the ready-made roasted chestnuts paste.  Then dip them in nutmeg custard that acts as a glue for an even layer of granulated sugar, which then directly go into a buttered skillet to be caramelized and hardened into creme brulee-crusts.

Crunchy, soft and chewy toasts explosively filled with creamy, sweet and smooth chestnuts.  Oozesoozes is the word.  Then extra melty butter, freshly grated nutmeg, snowflakes of sea salt and a smoothing stream of maple syrup.  If that didn’t do it, a scoop of ice cream answered.

Fun, hell, french toasts, recover then repeat?  Sounds like a new year’s resolution to me.




  • Approx 2 cups (315 grams) peeled roasted chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup (45 grams) light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla paste, or vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup (300 grams) whole milk, plus 2 tbsp more to adjust
  • 4 thick slices (1 1/2" or 4 cm) brioche or Hokkaido milk toast
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup (183 grams) whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to serve
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (53 grams) granulated sugar
  • 14 cup (20 grams) light brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter
  • Flakey sea salt and maple syrup to serve


  1. TO MAKE THE CHESTNUTS FILLINGS: Combine peeled roasted chestnuts, light brown sugar and vanilla paste in a food-processor, pulse until the chestnuts are coarsely ground. Add 1 1/4 cup whole milk and run until the mixture is smoothly pureed. It should be paste-like and creamy. Adjust the thickness with more whole milk if needed. Keep in the fridge until needed, and can be made the day ahead.
  2. TO MAKE THE FRENCH TOAST: Use a serrated knife and cut a "pocket" into each slices of brioche (or milk toast), extending close to the edges without opening them (like pita bread). Set aside. Whisk together egg, whole milk, freshly grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Set aside. Mix granulated sugar and light brown sugar evenly together. Set aside.
  3. Stuff each brioche-pocket with a generous amount of chetnuts-filling, carefully without squishing the bread. Melt 1 1/2 tbsp of unsalted butter for each french toast (depending on how many you're cooking at a time) inside a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dip each stuffed brioche into the egg-mixture, then sprinkle an even layer of the sugar-mixture on one side, and smooth it out with your hand. Flip and coat/sugar the other side as well.
  4. Transfer the toasts directly into the skillet. Keep the heat around medium ~ medium-low, and cook until both sides of the sugar has melted and caramelized. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool slightly, so the sugar-layer can harden. Repeat with the rest.
  5. Serve immediately with a nub of unsalted butter, freshly grated nutmeg, sprinkles of sea salt and maple syrup (plus vanilla ice cream if you'd like).


  • Dorota

    January 2, 2015 at 12:11 AM Reply

    I’m sorry you are not feeling well. These look delicious. I hope the rest of the year goes better for your. What an interesting twist on french toasts!

  • Jamie

    January 2, 2015 at 12:34 AM Reply

    This looks like my kind of breakfast – makes me want to go out and buy brioche right now.
    Why do you do this to me? I just made your chestnut scones yesterday too. I’ll just have to buy a new wardrobe.

  • Millie | Add A Little

    January 2, 2015 at 3:30 AM Reply

    Fun, hell, french toasts, recover then repeat? Sounds like a new year’s resolution to me.

    ^ preach.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    January 2, 2015 at 7:34 AM Reply

    I want to put those creamy chestnuts on everything!! WHOA!

  • Laurie

    January 2, 2015 at 7:50 AM Reply

    You’re too damn funny! Was it just one shot of Tequila that did it? You have accomplished much more than I did, today. We had great food last night. Still some goodies left for tonight. And, Hubby got some lobster for tonight! Hope you have a lovely year ahead and the pups are doing well.

  • Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

    January 2, 2015 at 10:50 AM Reply

    I am so impressed that you pulled this off, even with the recipe prepped! This combo blows my mind. Everything about it – toasty chestnuts, nutmeg custard, brûlée….perfect!

  • Charlie (Chockywoky)

    January 2, 2015 at 11:12 AM Reply

    Err mah gawd that is prolly the most epic french toast I have ever seen – creme de marrons in between? – genius. Pure genius.

  • cynthia

    January 3, 2015 at 6:18 AM Reply

    This. Is. Incredible. And the photos!! So, so so so beautiful. Hope you’re recovering okay!! Happy new year, Mandy!

  • Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewife

    January 4, 2015 at 12:11 AM Reply

    This looks delicious. Love the extra sugar to caramelize…must try.

  • Matea

    January 4, 2015 at 1:34 AM Reply

    What a delicious way to integrate crème brûlée and french toast–for breakfast!

  • Francois

    January 4, 2015 at 11:14 PM Reply

    Bravo! another amazing blog entry and a great dish. I cooked it just minutes ago and had a few minute variations. I made the chestnut filling a little less sweet and used a coconut milk egg nog in place of milk. I used brioche hamburger buns made by Eli Zabar. I used a Chef trick for stuffing things done by using a paring knife stuck in straight so there is a small entry point. You twist the blade using the opening as the swivel so the hole remains small but the pocket you create is large. I piped in the chestnuts; sauteed on very low heat in a non stick with shit tons of butter till light brown than flipped them over and finished in a 400 degree oven. I served it with a sweet potato hash made with caramelized onions (cooked in duck fat and butter), parboiled sweet potatoes, garlic, hot peppers, thyme, garlic and bacon. I would have added a diced apple cooked in there except I forgot. Anyways… your dish is absolutely brilliant… every one at our table saluted you from snowy New York!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      January 4, 2015 at 11:49 PM Reply

      Omg you savory version sounds brilliant! The combination is mind bending, I can only imagine how yummy it was. Thanks for sharing!

  • ATasteOfMadness

    January 5, 2015 at 7:39 AM Reply

    This sounds amazing!! I am definitely wanting to make more french toast in the New Year..

  • ellie | fit for the soul

    January 8, 2015 at 3:14 AM Reply

    Oh gosh, this has GOT to be the most beautiful and perfect french toast ever….I don’t know how you always conjure up/curate the best flavors and textures together, Mandy!

  • Amaryllis @

    March 6, 2015 at 10:56 PM Reply

    OMG, had I seen this when it was initially posted, it would make the first day of this year just perfect! Will try it asap, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Hil

    May 10, 2015 at 5:37 AM Reply

    Looks delicious!!! Really want to try this recipe. What’s the trick of peeling chestnut? Can you share ur tips? Thanks!!!!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 10, 2015 at 5:03 PM Reply

      Hil, haaaha my trick for peeling chestnuts is… buy it pre-peeled. I hate it, too…

  • Windie

    May 30, 2015 at 12:01 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy, thank you for sharing this recipe! One quick question: How can I seal the bread? I don’t understand the ‘pocket’ part.. any reference I can look into? Thank you so much, I really want to try out this recipe. :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 30, 2015 at 12:39 PM Reply

      Windie, don’t cut the bread completely open like a sandwich, just insert your knife from ONE EDGE of the bread only, then create a cavity with the tip of your knife, like a “pocket”. Get it? Then you don’t have to “seal” really. Once you stuff the chestnuts, which is kind of a sticky paste, simply just press the bread down slightly and it should stay that way ;)

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