Have you ever imagined what Hansel and Gretel's captor's house may have looked like if the lot were all Japanese animations? Howl's Moving Castle made of sugar and dough? My mind has certainly wandered here... And, I think that I may have the answer. This weekend, I traveled down the enchanted path of Japanese Shibuya honey toast.
Picture a cabin construction of buttery French toast bricks, cemented with honey and maple syrup, oozing with ginger ice cream, crested with blackberry whipped cream tiles, and dotted with fresh fruit and toasted almond chimneys. Beware readers, all your childhood dreams of the most decadent sugary breakfast combinations that were never parent-approved have been validated by DOB.
However daunting this baking building plan may look, Shibuya Toast does not actually require a degree from Columbia's School of Architecture in order to indulge in this morning luxury breakfast or late dinner dessert endeavor. This weekend, I dare you to enter Shibuya Honey Toast Land.
So what exactly is this whimsical dessert-wonder? Shibuya Toast, in a nutshell, is a playful construction of butter-fried bread, loaded with an array of decadent dessert toppings. And being the devotedly curious scholar of all things toast-related that you know me to be, I decided that this indulgently delectable "research" was a necessary, neighborly-due diligence.
So, let's build this heavenly dream home. First things first, you'll need a big firm block of the rich butter and milk French loaf Pain de Mie to ensure that your new abode can hold up in the oven. Caution: Brioche, however tempting, isn't up for the sturdy role. Pain de Mie's thick crust is more resistant to natural disasters like oven heat and gut-renovations of interior dough. Begin by slicing off a corner block of the loaf and then gently hollowing out a big 'ole bread cube. Dice this block into small square bricks for later on when you'll actually be stacking them back into your Rubix dough creation. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, immerse your bread cubes in a limitless amount of melted butter and watch them turn into golden, crisp, but still ever so moist sponges before your eyes. Next we will blast the foundation in a "butter bath": Add another healthy dollop of European style 86% butterfat butter to the pan. When it's melted, pour the sweetest mortar you'll ever taste over your hollowed-out house. Set up your bricks and your foundation on a parchment lined baking sheet and let the materials crisp up in the oven. Meanwhile, I know that you'll be going for an Elle Décor feature so indulge in your tastiest roofing decorations. In my fantasy feature, I've pulled references from across the world, craving crystallized ginger ice cream, a tangy blackberry whipped cream, honey, strawberries, and toasted almonds - flavors I've harvested in Stockholm, Tokyo, and of course from my childhood. After 5-7 minutes in the oven, the foundation should be set. Pour in a stream of honey or maple syrup (or both) and stack the bricks into the house. Ornament your masterpiece and watch as your neighbors ogle this enviable fortress of your sweetest dreams.
And when you do decide to take the plunge and enter into your dessert digs, invite them to join you as all the glorious flavors of this breakfast-dessert rainbow fairytale come crashing down together.
Follow Jill Donenfeld on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theculinistas