#TasteofThursday Brioche French Toast – Chef Rob Feenie





Serves 4

Ingredients – Candied Pecans:

2 cups pecan halves

4 tbsp simple syrup


Method – Candied Pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Toss pecans in simple syrup and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the oven, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until sugar on pecans is dry. Remove and allow to cool.


Ingredients – Pastry Cream:

1 cup milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 each egg

1/3 cup cornstarch


Method – Pastry Cream:

  1. Combine milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat and remove from stove.
  2. Whisk together egg and cornstarch in a bowl until well combined.
  3. Temper egg mixture (so it doesn’t curdle) by whisking in 1 tbsp. of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Do this twice more.
  4. Add the remaining hot milk mixture and whisk well.
  5. Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan on medium heat and cook, stirring well for 2 to 3 minutes, or until thick. Remove from the stove.


Ingredients – Mousse:

3 sheets gelatin

½ cup pastry cream

¾ cup sour cream

2 cups whipping cream

¼ cup sugar


Method – Mousse:

  1. Soak gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water for 2 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Take out gelatin leaves and squeeze out any excess liquid, then place them in a stainless steel bowl sitting on a small saucepan of boiling water on medium heat.
  3. Whisk in pastry cream. Remove from the stove and stir in sour cream, mixing well.
  4. In a chilled bowl, whisk together whipping cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Fold into the gelatin mixture. Cover and refrigerate until needed.


Ingredients – Bourbon Maple Syrup:

3/2 oz bourbon

1 cup maple syrup


Method – Maple Syrup:

  1. Mix together bourbon and maple syrup in a bowl. Adjust the amount of bourbon to suit your taste.


Ingredients – Brioche French Toast:

4 each eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup whipping cream

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

½ each vanilla bean – seeds only

8 slices brioche – sliced 1 inch thick

4 tbsp unsalted butter

icing sugar


Method – French Toast:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Transfer to a blender and puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Add vanilla seeds to the egg mixture and whisk well.
  3. Transfer egg mixture to a flat-bottomed dish and add brioche slices. Allow to soak for 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Melt butter in two large ovenproof frying pans on medium heat.
  5. Add brioche slices and cook for 10 minutes, or until golden. Turn over brioche slices, then place the frying pan in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until nice and golden.


To Serve:

  1. Place 2 slices of brioche on each plate.
  2. Drizzle with bourbon maple syrup and garnish with candied pecans, sour cream mousse and a dusting of icing sugar.


Chef Rob Feenie - Cactus Club Cafe-2-2Chef Rob Feenie, Executive Chef, Cactus Restaurants Ltd.  

The driving culinary force behind Cactus Restaurants Ltd., the award-winning collection of 26 casual fine dining restaurants in BC, Alberta and Saskatoon, Rob Feenie is also one of Canada’s most recognized and celebrated chefs.

At Cactus Restaurants Ltd., Chef Feenie leads the culinary team, blending his talent for creating elegant, globally-inspired cuisine with his passion for simple dishes using fresh, sustainable ingredients.  Chef Feenie’s innovative approach to cooking has continued to drive the evolution of Cactus Club Cafe’s menu selections and its commitment to sourcing the best fresh, local and sustainable products wherever possible.  

Growing up in Burnaby, BC, Chef Feenie first developed a curiosity for international cuisine over countless traditional family dinners at his Japanese neighbours’ home. This early experience was followed by a high school exchange program where he was first introduced to European chefs and techniques.  At 20, Chef Feenie attended the Dubrulle Culinary Institute in Vancouver and upon graduating, became a Sous-chef in some of Western Canada’s top restaurants, notably Le Crocodile and Cherry Stone Cove in Vancouver and The Rim Rock Café in Whistler. 

While at Le Crocodile he began a series of work and educational trips, or stages, throughout Europe and North America, starting in Alsace with Chef Emile Jung at Au Crocodile and Chef Antoine Westermann at Le Buerehiesel, both Michelin three-star rated restaurants. In North America he worked with Chef Charlie Trotter, at Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago, and Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Jean-Georges in New York.

In 1995 Chef Feenie opened the internationally celebrated Lumière Restaurant in Vancouver, followed by Lumière Tasting Bar and then Feenie’s, a more casual Canadian Bistro, next door to Lumière, in 2003.  Throughout his career, Chef Feenie has secured international culinary recognition, including the coveted Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualitè designations, in addition to the Mobil Travel Guide four-stars designation and the AAA Five Diamond Award.  In 2009 and 2011, Chef Feenie won the Vancouver Gold Medal Plates competition.

Chef Feenie has published four cookbooks: Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics, Rob Feenie Cooks at Lumière, Lumière Light and Feenie’s. He also starred on New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie on Food Network Canada for five seasons.  In 2005 Feenie became the first Canadian to win on the popular television show Iron Chef America by defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto.


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