Dates and Lychee Stuffed Sweet Toast

This idea of a varied French toast-sweet toast-fried bread-sugary syrup has been playing on my mind for many months and each time I sat down to work on the recipe, a new component came into play. This recipe comes after a total of 17 trials… il faut souffrir pour être belle!

It started by a fancy version of a French toast, venturing towards exotic continental fillings, after which meddling with syrups came into play. Then I decided to explore flavours closer to the home ground. This creation is the one that cut through.

This is a cross between the Indian shahi tukda and stuffed French toast. The flavours are of heady saffron and cardamom with sweet dates and fruity lychees. The fresh lychees lend the perfect tartness against the natural sweetness of the dates. The two are ‘poached’ together in water with cardamom and vanilla. The syrup is a simple water and sugar together with gorgeous saffron, cardamom, rose petals and nutmeg. Sandwich the filling between two slices of bread and fry it up in some delicious butter. Then dip the sandwich into the syrup and fry it up again. Sprinkle some pistachios, almonds and coconut flakes on top. Serve with ice cream, preferably a rose + coconut ice cream for the perfect Indian inspired dessert.

This recipe can be divided up into parts, wherein the syrup and filling is made beforehand to save time. The syrup stores well in the freezer for quite some time.

(Interestingly, what took longer was naming this beautiful dessert; I unimaginatively decided upon “Dates and Lychee Stuffed Sweet Toast”!)

The Recipe
Serves 2


  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4-5 saffron strands
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp dried rose petals
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh lychees
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Toast:
  • 4 thick bread slices
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • rose + coconut ice cream
  • toasted coconut flakes
  • toasted almond flakes
  • pistachio flakes


  • To make the syrup, boil all the ingredients together to form a semi thick syrup. Continuously stirring. Once the sugar has dissolved pour the syrup through a sieve to remove all the solid ingredients and once cooled, you can store the syrup in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Place the dates, lychees, water, vanilla and cardamom seeds into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the water burn off and smash the remaining pulp into a thick mixture.
  • Layer the filling in between the two slices of toast, like a sandwich.
  • Generously dab butter on both sides of the outside toast (approximately 1 tbsp per toast) and grill on a hot non-stick pan, pressing down on both sides.
  • Then dip one side of the toast into a plate of syrup, ensuring the entire side is well coated in the fragrant syrup. Grill the sandwich on a hot pan until the syrup caramelises and brulees well on both sides.
  • Serve this toast with a scoop of ice cream and garnish with dried rose petals, coconut flakes, almond flakes pistachios.