Also known as pain perdu, the poor gentlemen of Windsor, and more accurately, if less romantically, eggy bread, this simple piece of culinary genius has been giving pleasure since the last days of Rome, perhaps an era less decadent than is popularly claimed. he believes, given his thrifty ways with stale bread. Sweet or salty, even vegan, it’s not just for breakfast.
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Homework 25 minutes (if making clarified butter)
Cook 3 minutes
It serves 2and easily doubled
100 g unsalted butter (see step 1)
2 teaspoons granulated sugarmore extra to finish
¼ teaspoon salt
A pinch of ground cloves
A pinch of ground mace
A pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon (optional)
2 teaspoons of common flour
2 good 2 cm thick slices White breadpreferably a little stale
1 A word about fat
Although you can use two tablespoons of butter straight from the packet for this, it’s worth taking the time to thin it out if you can, especially if you’re doing a few rounds, because that will prevent the milk solids from burning in the pan. Alternatively, use ghee or, if you prefer to keep things dairy-free, two tablespoons of neutral oil instead.
2 Clarify the butter
To make the clarified butter, melt 100g butter (this will do more than you need here, but it keeps well so it’s worth making more) in a small skillet over medium-high heat until a layer is lifted of thick white foam (these are the solid proteins in milk, which are often burned on high heat) and begins to bubble vigorously as the water evaporates.
3 strain and cool
Lower the heat below the pan and continue to simmer until the foam subsides and the fat stops bubbling, being careful that the white bits on the bottom do not stick together and burn. Strain the butter through a clean cloth to separate the solid proteins from the milk. The clarified butter is now ready to use, although it will keep for at least six months as long as it’s chilled in a sealed container.
4 Start the dough
Melt a tablespoon of clarified butter (assuming you’re working with it cold). Beat the eggs in a bowl, then add the melted butter, sugar, salt, spices, and lemon zest. Mix the spices however you like: use just cinnamon, omit the cloves altogether, add ground cardamom or fennel seeds instead, whatever you think might be good. The same goes for citrus zest.
5 Finish the dough
Put the flour in a wide bowl and mix some of the egg mixture into a paste (you can use a gluten-free flour, such as cornmeal, if you prefer, or leave it out altogether – not essential, but it does help). with sharpness).
Gradually add the rest of the egg mixture until you have a smooth dough.
6 Soak the bread, then fry
Soak bread (gluten-free, if necessary) in dough mixture for 30 seconds on each side, until soft but not limp.
Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of butter or fat in skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the bread and cook undisturbed for about two minutes, until golden brown and crisp underneath.
7 Flip, fry and serve hot
Flip the bread over, cook for a minute (or a little longer) on the other side, until just as golden, then transfer to plates, sprinkle with sugar or drizzle with honey, and serve with indecent haste while the French toast is still hot. hot and crispy (or keep warm in a low oven, if that makes life easier).
8 A vegan alternative…
For a vegan version, mix two tablespoons of chickpea flour (gram) in 100 ml of non-dairy milk instead of the eggs, and add a tablespoon of neutral oil to the dough with the sugar, salt, spices, and zest; cook it in another tablespoon of oil. If your non-dairy milk is sweetened, you may want to cut back on the sugar a bit.
9 … and a salty one
Skip the sugar, zest, and spices, or replace them with more flavorful flavors of your choice (shredded Parmesan and nutmeg, for example), then top with fried bacon or tomatoes. Or use the French toast as a base for toast, add a filling (cheese is rarely a bad idea), top with another slice of bread, and cook as above.