A while back, I had written about one of the very best breakfast dishes a bloke can cook for a lovely lady the “morning after”. Of course, one of the problems with the dish I had recommended–sweet corn fritters with roast tomato and bacon–is that it requires you to have corn, fresh tomatoes, and a number of other ingredients at hand. Which isn’t always the case.
I, for one, love making breakfast for my wife. Part of the reason that I’m the one most often preparing our morning meal is that I’m a morning person, and S is definitely not. If it were up to her (especially on weekends), she’d stay tucked under her covers under lunch time. One of the few ways I can coax her out of the bedroom is by whipping up something that smells too good to miss.
One of the best and quickest things to make in the morning is French toast. It’s also one of my favourite things to eat. And, as compared to the corn fritters, requires very few ingredients. In fact, all of the required ingredients are, I would consider, kitchen/pantry essentials. So you’d have no excuse not to be able to throw this together for that (new) special someone.
Sadly, while French toast is an almost universal breakfast menu option these days–I think we’d all be hard-pressed to find a cafe that didn’t offer some variation of the dish–far too many restaurants turn out poor versions of it. Which is really inexcusable when you consider how easy a good French toast is to make. All you need is some good quality bread, eggs, cream, sugar, butter, plus whatever else you might want to throw in for fun. The problem probably lies with a few things, chief among them the bread. If you aren’t going to use good bread, then what’s the point? Of course, when I say good bread, I don’t mean bread that’s getting a tad stale. I mean crappy quality bread that you wouldn’t eat fresh. Bread that was once fabulous and is getting a tad stale is perfectly fine for French toast; in fact, according to many, the dish was created in order to turn such bread into something special and edible. Another issue is soaking time. Different kinds of bread absorb liquid at different speeds. I love using brioche but brioche absorbs liquid super-fast. You don’t want to soak your bread too long, i.e. you don’t want it so soft that it starts to fall apart. You need it to keep its shape and certain amount of texture.
When I make French toast, in addition to the universal ingredients I mentioned above, I add vanilla extract, a vanilla scented fleur du sel, and some single malt Scotch (or other whiskey). It’s not (just) that I’m an alcoholic, but the addition of a touch of whiskey gives the batter, and the eventual finished dish, a slight butterscotchy taste, which is really gorgeous. I also top off my French toast with a drizzle of salted caramel, which S always keeps in the fridge.
Anyway, here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy and, for my male readers, profit from it.
4 thick slices of bread
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fleur du sel (vanilla if you can find it)
10ml single malt Scotch
1 tablespoon butter
Cut off bread crusts if they offend you. Cut bread into 2 or 4 pieces depending on preferences.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, fleur du sel, vanilla, and Scotch. Taste and add more sugar, salt or whiskey to taste.
Take half of the butter and melt over a medium-high heat in a nonstick pan.
While the butter is melting, soak half of the bread in the batter. Turn so that all sides of the bread get covered. Soak for a minute or so or until bread is soaked through but not mushy.
Gently place the soaked bread onto the pan, frying it until golden on one side, then flipping to fry the other side, also until golden.
Repeat with the rest of the butter and bread. Plate and then sprinkle some powdered sugar over the toast, or sauce with maple syrup or salted caramel. You can also garnish with fresh fruit.