Located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, The Heyward is a sophisticated neighborhood eatery that puts an innovative spin on classic southern fare. Named after South Carolina poet DuBose Heyward, the restaurant serves “New Southern” cuisine inspired by the classic regional cooking of Charleston and Savannah. Co-owner Che Stepanovich shared their most popular brunch dish for your weekend morning pleasure. Beware: it’s a lot of pleasure.
“We were all on the same page on this one for sure. Brunch has to be one of the most celebrated meals of the week — usually with good friends, usually after a late night,” says Stepanovich. “We wanted a dish that was a bit of a beast to bring all that together so we went back to some of our favorite childhood breakfasts and then just made a way for them to work together. The way you would if you were a kid again. A French toast, ham, egg and cheese sandwich with jam and syrup. Makes perfect sense to us! It’s easily become the most popular dish on the menu.”
You can use any sort of medium-sweet jam or compote out of a jar. You just don’t want something too sugary to keep the flavor balance.
- 4 slices brioche, cut into 1-inch thick slices and toasted
- Sliced ham (we use country ham, of course, but smoked ham is fine too!)
- 4 eggs (we use brown, cage free, organic), beaten
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- Scant 1/4 cup maple syrup (grade A amber)
- 1/2 tablespoon finely grated cinnamon
- 1/4 Nutmeg berry, finely grated
- 3/4 teaspoon spiced rum
- 1 pint fresh figs (we use black mission)
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
For the custard
Whisk the eggs into the cream until fully incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and blend.
For the fig jam and sandwich
Cover figs with water and syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer gently until the the figs start to break down. Stir in sugar and vanilla, continuing to cook. After approximately 1 hour, stir in lemon zest and remove from heat. Puree in blender once cooled.
Melt some butter in a nonstick skillet or a griddle pan over medium heat. Dredge the brioche through the custard and cook on the heated surface. The goal is to achieve that wonderful toasted golden brown on the outside slowly enough that the inside cooks through and soufflés nicely, about 3-4 minutes.
While the french toast is cooking, scramble your eggs. To achieve a soft scramble, use medium low heat and thoroughly whisked eggs. Constant gentle movement is the key until your eggs are smooth and creamy, still ever so slightly runny.
Assemble the sandwich with a healthy dose of fig jam, thin slices of warm country (or smoked) ham, soft scrambled eggs.