If you dig dessert for breakfast, look no further than Shibuya honey toast. This Japanese treat is a mountain of crunchy, butter-soaked milk bread, sweet fruit, whipped cream, and ice cream. It may not be a casual breakfast for a weekday morning, but it is a breakfast you’ll never forget. While Shibuya honey toast is certainly a show-stopper, don’t let its stunning appearance fool you into thinking the dish is complicated to make. In fact, you can probably put the whole thing together in less than half an hour, and you don’t need any more skills than slicing bread, pan-frying, and using an oven. Struggling to decide what to make for this weekend’s brunch bash? This is it.
Shibuya honey toast begins with a large rectangular loaf of the French milk bread pain de mie, so find one of those. Technically, pain de mie is a “pullman,” or sandwich-style loaf bread made with butter, milk, and sugar. If you can’t find pain de mie, it’s likely that your local bakery (or bakery counter) will sell something similar—a sturdy brioche bread will taste best, but it won’t be quite as perfectly rectangular as the pain de mie, and while a firm white bread may not be as rich as pain de mie, it will have a better shape. The choice is yours.
Starting from one end or the other, cut a wedge of bread about 5 inches long. Since you need crust on all sides of the bread except for the top, you can get 2 honey toasts from each loaf. Save the rest for a sandwich tomorrow.
Stand the piece of bread with the sliced slide up on a cutting board. Working carefully not to hit the bottom of the bread, use a serrated paring knife to cut out an interior cube from the bread, leaving a border about ½-inch from the crust. Pull the interior cube out, trying not to squish the bread. Slice the interior piece into small cubes.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF and heat 6 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt, then stir in 3 tablespoons honey with a silicone spatula or whisk. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the honey butter, then toss in the bread cubes. Turn the cubes around every now and then so all of their sides get golden brown, as though you were making croutons. When the cubes are finished, transfer them to a plate or cutting board.
Brush the reserved 2 tablespoons of the melted honey butter over the large outer chunk of bread. Place the bread cut-side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake it for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s golden and crispy.
While the bread bakes, prepare your fillings. Macerated fruit, toasted nuts, flavored whipped cream, even your go-to flavor of ice cream are good options here. Rainbow sprinkles? Duh. Chocolate sauce? Oh yeah. Even melted nut butter (or Nutella!) are good choices. I told you, this isn’t the kind of light breakfast you want to poke into before a work day. This is a brunch mountain, and you can’t half-ass it.
Fill the outer bread box with layers of the honey croutons and macerated fruit, then top with a big scoop of whipped cream (or ice cream, or both), and any other toppings you’d like. Finish the toast off with a generous drizzle of honey.