Recipe Review

This Little-Known French Pastry Is the Beautiful Love Child of a Chocolate Croissant and French Toast

published Feb 9, 2023
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Bostock slices on sheet pan, baked with powdered sugar on top
Credit: Tara Holland

As much as cooking is my passion and my job, I’m also a busy mom, so I am always on the lookout for quick and delicious recipes that taste like they’ve taken hours. When I saw the recipe for chocolate bostock on TikTok from Hailee Catalano of Cafe Hailee, it piqued my interest — I could see myself gaining breakfast brownie points!

For those not familiar with bostock, you are in very good company. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I had never heard of it, and that’s with me being European and coming from a culinary school background. However, in my defense, it is one of the lesser-known French pastries, and after tasting it, I can confirm that it definitely doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The best way to describe bostock is that it’s the beautiful love child of an almond croissant and French toast. Bostock is a slice of syrup-soaked brioche (that’s sometimes also spread with fruit preserves) that’s topped with frangipane (aka almond pastry cream) and then sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked. 

How to Make Chocolate Bostock

You’ll first make a honey-vanilla syrup, which only takes a few minutes in a skillet. While the syrup is cooling, you make the frangipane by creaming together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You’ll beat in a large egg, followed by almond flour, a splash of Cognac, whiskey, or rum (as an optional extra), vanilla paste, salt, and almond extract until combined. You’ll brush day-old slices of brioche generously with the cooled syrup on a parchment-lined baking sheet — the bread being slightly stale helps to soak up all the syrup like a sponge. The brioche is then spread with a layer of almond paste, topped with chopped pieces of chocolate, and sprinkled with some sliced almonds. It’s baked in a hot oven for 12 minutes until the frangipane sets, the chocolate melts, and the nuts are golden-brown. A dusting of powdered sugar completes it!

Credit: Tara Holland

My Honest Review of Chocolate Bostock

Although on paper it may sound like a bit of work to make a honey-vanilla syrup and frangipane from scratch for breakfast, it really takes no time. You’ll have a fancy French “pastry” well within half an hour, which is pretty impressive! It’s a great way to use stale brioche (challah works, too!) and feels a little more elevated than French toast. Hailee’s recipe is also concise and very easy to follow. 

I loved the crisp outer layer of the crust and the fluffy, light interior. I would have liked a few more almonds sprinkled on top than the suggested amount, but I think that’s just personal preference (or possibly just my greed!). My almond extract wasn’t very intense, so I doubled the almond extract when I made it a second time. However, I know that almond extract can be an acquired taste, and as many brands differ in strength, definitely follow Hailee’s measurement first before you start tweaking.

Chocolate bostock will become a brunch breakfast staple in our house, and I can confirm I gained the brownie points I was seeking, as my daughter took one to school for breakfast and asked me to make more. Although it’s beyond delicious served warm when the chocolate is warm and gooey, I believe it’s almost as good served at room temperature, as I enjoyed the bite of the chocolate once it had hardened, just like the inside of a chocolate croissant.  

I made it both with and without adding a splash of booze to the batter, but I enjoyed it more when I added a tablespoon of dark rum. The sugar in the alcohol tended to color the frangipane a little more than without, but this wasn’t a bad thing, as the caramelization only added more flavor. 

Credit: Tara Holland

If You’re Making Chocolate Bostock, a Few Tips 

  • Don’t be alarmed if the egg looks like it has split the batter. Even though my egg and butter were at room temperature, the mixture appeared to have broken when I mixed in the egg. However, as soon as the almond flour was added, it was immediately rectified. My kitchen was cold, so this may have contributed to it; so if it happens to you, fear not and proceed.
  • If you don’t have day-old bread, you can dry it out yourself. Preheat your oven to 300℉. Arrange one rack in the middle of the oven and another on the rack just below, with a baking sheet on the lower rack. Using tongs, carefully place the slices upright between the rungs of the top rack, one piece between two rungs; Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until the bread dries slightly. Keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t take on any color. 
  • Don’t use too much almond paste. Although this recipe yields just over 1 cup of frangipane for 4 slices of bread, you only need to spread it about 1/4-inch thick, as anything more tends to slide off during the bake. Depending on how big your brioche loaf is, you may even be able to get 5 slices out of the syrup and almond paste if the surface area isn’t too big. 
  • Use a chocolate bar that isn’t too thick. The first time I made it, I used chocolate that was almost 1/3-inch thick, and even though it was chopped relatively small, it took longer to melt than 12 minutes, so I recommend using a thin bar, such as Lindt
  • If you are feeling fruity. I adore chocolate, but I was curious to try a couple of other flavors, so I tested out spreading one heaping tablespoon of apricot preserves on top of the syrup layer and just before you add the almond paste. It was tasty, but when I tried raspberry preserves, it was an absolute game-changer! It invoked strong childhood memories of the British dessert Bakewell Tart, and I highly recommend trying out that combo.

Get the recipe: Chocolate Bostock