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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch in the South Seas

March 27, 2011

All that research these past few Sunday Brunches made me quite hungry for some actual brunch.  Today, we're returning to the kitchen and cooking up one of the most famous Disney breakfast items, Tonga Toast.  It has been said that Tonga Toast is the most requested recipe from Disney, so it's no wonder that it has been served at Disney's Polynesian Resort for decades since it opened.  There is also an Urban Legend being passed down by Disney's cast members and Tonga Toast fans alike that Elvis was a huge fan of the toast.  He supposedly sent his personal chef to Disney World to learn how to make it.  While I'm not sure how true this story is, I do know that the sandwich named after Elvis does feature bananas, as does Tonga Toast.  Today you can order 'Elvis's favorite' at Polynesian's table service restaurant Kona Cafe or the quick service stand Captain Cook's.

       

Though I have had the fortune of dining with Hula Minnie and friends for a character breakfast at the Polynesian Resort in 1993, I had not been lucky enough to enjoy some Tonga Toast.  At least I don't remember having it-I was in my cereal, hot dogs, and bacon diet phase back then and being a little kid, I was too entranced by the excitement of Disney friends coming to say hello while the kids pretend to eat breakfast. 

Anyhow, that story is for another time!  The here and now is making your very own Tonga Toast at home.  The recipe is readily available online and also in my new favorite cookbook in Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs.  I was quite surprised to see how simple it was, then again it is just toast.  Get your misenplace ready, all you'll need is:

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 loaf sourdough bread (8 inches long)'or any UNSLICED loaf of bread-sourdough, Texas Toast, and challah bread are often recommended for most toast recipes

2 bananas, peeled

1 quart canola oil, for frying

Candy thermometer or Deep Fryer

As before, the main steps are in bold, with my usual tips and blabbering for those wishing to learn.

1.       Mix up the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl until evenly mixed, then set it aside. 

2.       Slice up your loaf of bread of choice into four 2-inch thick slices.  You need a thick slice for this to work.  A serrated knife (the one with all the teeth) is ideal to use.  Regular knives or even a sharp kitchen knife will squish your loaf.

3.       Cut each banana in half crosswise (have your banana smiling at you, then cut it in the middle).  Then cut each piece lengthwise (cut your halves into long halves).

4.       Now that the ball is rolling with this recipe, start heating your oil so that it's hot enough by the time you're done the next step.  You need to get it to 350 F.  Ideally, you should cook this in a deep fryer since they have temperature setting, but if you don't have one, just use a large, deep pot with oil.  You'll need to use a candy thermometer to make you're your oil is hot enough.  If not, the toast will not cook properly.  You may end up with oily soggy toast by the time it finishes cooking.

 

Candy Thermometers are available at Kitchen supply stores and even craft stores.  This one is sold with the baking tools at Wal-Mart's home section.

5.       Stuff each bread slice with a banana quarter.  All you need to do is put the bread flat on your table and pull out a snug little cubby for your banana half to sit in.  We do not want the banana to fall through so make sure there is a floor in your cubby.

6.       Gently drop a bread slice into your pot of oil until it is light brown.  Mickey suggests 1 minute, but in the culinary world, you cannot always use time to determine doneness.  As my chef always says, it's done when it's done!  Time is such a variable in cooking, it should only be a guideline guestimate.  Use all your senses!  Look for the light brown color or smell for a fresh piece of cooked toast.  Also, listen to the oil as your toast cooks.  In it's raw state it's really sizzling because of the shock of temperature difference, but it quiets down as you get closer to a finished, cooked product.

7.       Flip over your toast slice and cook until that side is done, which will probably take less amount of time than the first.

8.       IMMEDIATELY after frying, toss it in the sugar and cinnamon for it to adhere.  If you wait too long, the cinnamon/sugar is never going to stick.

 
A slice of Tonga Toast can be enjoyed with my favorite: pineapple! 
Photo from the Disney food online resource, www.disney-food.com

Repeat these steps until your plate is full of Tonga Toast!  Next week, we'll look at another Disney breakfast item, Chef Mickey's Breakfast Pizza, another easy to do at home dish that was recently explored by budding new chef Brent Dodge in his first 'Cooking with Brent' episode (#83) of the W.E.D.nesday Show!

Kona Caf' and Captain Cook's Photos from
http://www.dadsguidetowdw.com/kona-cafe.html
http://www.onlywdworld.com/2009/08/quest-for-world-famous-tonga-toast-at.html

 

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