Monday, December 28, 2009

Custardy French Toast

Thick slices of leftover bread, soaked in an egg, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla mixture and dusted with cinnamon sugar, pan fried for a crispy outer coating.
Thick slices of leftover bread, soaked in an egg, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla mixture and dusted with cinnamon sugar, pan fried for a crispy outer coating.

Custardy French Toast

Pain Perdu (or Lost Bread) is a classic French dish that is intended to use up leftover, stale loaves of bread so that it is not "lost." Pain Perdu is usually served with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Known by most of us as simply "French Toast" it is a popular dish for breakfast down here in this part of The South, and very often made with thick slices of leftover French bread, though any thicker cut of bread will do. Having leftover French bread in my house is a challenge, because I'm known to just tear off a hunk, slather it with some pure butter and eat it that way on and off throughout the day till it's all gone.

If you happen to have some leftover store-bought Texas toast, French bread, or homemade sandwich bread, this makes for a comforting and lovely meal for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even breakfast for dinner! This is the "old school" way and I love it! Written for two servings, just increase everything as needed for more.

Here's how to make it.

Start with 4 thick slices of French bread, Texas toast or sandwich bread.

Mix eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour over bread.

Flip to coat, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, flip and sprinkle some more. Refrigerate overnight if possible, or if cooking right away, let sit until it's soaked up most of the liquid, about 20 minutes.

Brown in some butter in a hot skillet, remove, top with even more butter, add syrup, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired and devour. Excellent when served with a side of fried apples!

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Recipe: Custardy French Toast

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min +30 min soak |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: 2 servings

  • 4 slices of thickly sliced day-old French bread, Texas Toast, or sandwich bread
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Powdered sugar, optional

Makes 2 servings, increase as needed. Set bread slices in a baking dish. Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour egg mix over bread slices, allow to sit for a minute, turn over, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar, turn one more time and sprinkle again with cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight or if using immediately allow to soak for about 20 to 30 minutes until most of egg mixture is absorbed, turning again if necessary.

Melt butter in a medium hot skillet and using a spatula to transfer, cook on both sides until nicely browned. Transfer to plates, top with additional butter, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, if desired. Serve with syrup.

To Bake: Can also bake in 500 degree oven on a generously buttered and preheated baking sheet, for approximately 8 minutes per side, or until puffy and golden brown. This is a super helpful method when you are making a lot of French toast for a crowd, such as for a holiday breakfast or brunch with family.

Cook's Notes: For a special treat, try substituting some or all of the milk with flavored refrigerated non-dairy coffee creamer. French toast is also a great way to use up leftover hamburger or hot dog buns, or leftover sweet quick breads, like banana bread.

French Toast Sticks: Cut thick slices of bread into halves or thirds and proceed with recipe.

Crunchy French Toast: Place 2 cups of Cap'n Crunch cereal into a zippered bag and crush into fine crumbs using a rolling pin; transfer to a plate. Prepare French toast as above, except after soaking in egg mixture, coat bread with cereal crumbs before pan frying.

Pecan Crusted French Toast: Combine 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans with 2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and granulated sugar. Spread on plate. After dipping slices in egg, place into pecans and press in. Finish as above.

Stuffed French Toast: Slice French bread 1-1/2 inches thick and carefully cut a pocket into the side of bread. Peel and thinly sliced one apple, pear or banana and saute in 2 tablespoons butter with 1/4 cup light brown or granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon until sugar is dissolved and fruit is tender. Evenly distribute filling into pockets of bread, dip and brown as above.

French Toasted Doughnuts: Substitute day old doughnuts, split in half lengthwise for the bread.


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Posted by on December 28, 2009
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