Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. In particular, I love a hot breakfast. Forget the cold cereal with milk, give me something where the aroma wafts through the kitchen and escapes into other parts of the house. I want something that will wake up friends and family and lead them to the table. Personally, I can’t think of anything that accomplishes this task quite like French Toast.
Now most people have busy schedules and mealtime has become all about convenience and what gets people on the road as quickly as possible. What I propose is to serve a meal where folks will linger around the table, sharing their plans for the day. While I typically make this on the weekend, my husband will make time during the week for this breakfast.
To make this a luscious meal, start with the best possible ingredients. Do not skimp and use artificial ingredients, because that defeats the flavor and the luscious quality of what will end up on your plate. Skim milk does not taste the same nor coat your tongue in the same fashion as whole milk and cream. Imitation vanilla is pale substitute for real vanilla. What makes this a custard is by using milk and/or cream and egg. Allowing the bread to soak in the mixture allows the bread to take on a baked custard texture (tender and almost ‘creamy’). NOTE: if using very hard or stale bread, increase the soaking time so the French Toast takes on a custard-like quality.
Custard-Style French Toast
- 1/2 C. whole milk
- 1/4 C. cream
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
Place beaten eggs in a wide, shallow bowl or pan. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Add a slice or two of bread to the egg/milk mixture. Do not stack slices of bread on top of each other. The bread should only be one layer deep.
If using a crusty style bread or day-old fresh bread, allow the bread slices to soak for 1 minute per side. Be sure to flip the slices so the mixture is evenly distributed throughout the bread. For soft, commercial made bread, reduce the soaking time to just 30 seconds per side. If you allow the slices to soak longer, the bread may fall apart when you move the slice to the frying pan.
While the first slices of bread are soaking, heat a skillet over medium heat on the stove. I use my cast iron shallow skillet and place a pat of butter in the pan as it heats up. When the butter begins to bubble, this indicates that the pan is hot enough to start adding slices to the pan. If the pan begins to smoke, turn down the heat.
Fry the French Toast for approximately 2 minutes per side. Slide a spatula under the slice to see if the underside is becoming golden brown. If it is, turn the slice over.
NOTE: this recipe is enough for approximately 6 slices of bread. The number of slices may vary based upon the size of the slice. To keep the French Toast warm, set the oven to 200F and place an oven safe tray/plate inside. As you remove the golden brown French Toast, place on the tray until all slices are done. Serve while hot. Suggested toppings include: butter, maple syrup, assorted fruit compote or a dusting of powdered sugar.