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makes 8 slices
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 8 slices white bread (should be good quality – “lost” or otherwise*)
- Butter for the pan or griddle
*The French call French Toast “Pain Perdue” which translates “Lost Bread.” since it was a way of utilizing stale bread.
Let’s Get Started!
Preheat the griddle or frying pan. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and pepper in a glass pie pan. We’ll call this the custard. Dip each slice of bread into the custard, coating on each side, and then arrange the slices in a pyramid on a plate. If the bread is very fresh (soft), don’t soak the slices too long or they will fall apart when you pick them up.
Butter the griddle and lay on the slices. If you’re using a frying pan, make sure the butter is hot before putting in the bread. As butter heats it loses its opacity (clarifies). You don’t want the butter to smoke or burn. If this is a worry, you can drizzle a little bit of vegetable oil into the butter. The butter could still burn, but not as quickly.
Cook the toast to a rich brown – lift a corner with your spatula to check – and turn. Continue to cook until done. You can test for doneness by patting the toast lightly with a finger. As the toast cooks it will feel denser to the touch. If your griddle or pan is super hot, you can sear the surface and the middle will be mushy. If the heat is too low, the toast will take too long to cook and will get dry. Play with the heat and touch to get your toast perfect. If you use a frying pan, shake it in a forward-backward motion to make sure the toast doesn’t stick. Serve immediately with maple syrup.
In the summer we serve our French Toast with slices of fresh peaches.
PEAR CRANBERRY TOPPING
makes 2 cups
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- Pinch salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 1/3 cup cranberry juice
- 3 tablespoons orange juice (squeeze ½ orange)
- 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger root (or use another ½ teaspoon powered)
- 3 hard Bartlett pears – peeled, cored, cubed (8 pieces per pear)
- 1/2 cup cranberries
In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over high heat, toast the dry ginger, salt and pepper until a beautiful aroma fills your kitchen (about 7 minutes). You are making “magic.” Turn off the heat and let the “magic” cool for a minute so that you won’t get spattered when you add the liquids.
Now carefully add the juices, as well as the shell of the juiced orange, the brown sugar, vanilla and fresh ginger, if using it. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved, stirring with a long-handled wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, add the pears and cranberries and stir to coat the fruit.
After the mixture returns to a boil, reduce to q simmer. Cook about 15 minutes longer – the fruit should be cooked but still retain its shape. Remove the fruit from the juice using a slotted spoon and reserve (you can leave the orange shell in the juice). Continue to cook the juice for another 10 to 15 minutes, until it becomes a syrup. Remove from the heat and discard the orange shell.
You can now recombine the fruit and syrup and serve as a topping on the Pumpkin Bread French Toast. Be judicious with the maple syrup, as this topping is sweet.
This is also an excellent topping for roast pork loin!
Nota bene: I would like to add a caution here about all mixtures that incorporate heated sugar: when at their highest temperature – during cooking or just off the heat – they can cause severe burns. When stirring or pouring, always use an oven mitt or dish towel; let such mixtures cool 10 minutes or so before tasting – and be careful!
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Prep Time: 10 minutes