Archive for: french toast
Pain perdu is a great dish to make on a lazy weekend morning when you have a loaf of slightly stale, rustic bread leftover from the night before. Pain perdu is another way of saying French toast, but I tend to associate it with French toast made with a more rustic, French-style bread than French toast made from ordinary sandwich bread. The bread is soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk before being cooked until golden brown in a skillet, and it is one of the very best ways that you can use leftover bread.
I often use challah or soft sandwich bread to make french toast. More rustic loaves make french toast – or pain perdu – with a heartier overall texture, although they still have a soft and tender center. You’ll have to soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture quite a bit longer than you would with a more delicate bread, partly to ensure that the thick slices get soaked all the way through and partly to ensure that the dense crust on rustic loaves softens enough. If you’re working with a particularly dense bread, use a fork to poke small holes in it as it soaks to ensure that the custard really gets into the bread.
Country-style loaves and even sourdough breads can make fantastic pain perdu and you’ll get great flavor in the finished dish. My basic batter is flavored with vanilla and a little cinnamon, but you can incorporate all kinds of spices to give your breakfast an even more complex (and tasty) flavor.
French toast is one of those breakfasts that is usually reserved for the weekends, but often makes appearances on my weekday mornings if I have a nice loaf of bread in the kitchen. It’s fast and easy to make french toast, and the warm, custardy dish is like having dessert for breakfast. This Amaretto French Toast is a new favorite twist on french toast that has a slightly more grown up flavor to it thanks to a little amaretto in the mix.
Amaretto is sweet, almond-flavored liqueur. You don’t usually see it in breakfast recipes all that often, but it works exceptionally well in the case of french toast. The almond flavor adds a really nice element to the eggy custard that bread is dipped in for french toast, and it adds just the right amount of sweetness to the mix. I used a fairly soft white bread for this french toast, which was a relatively plain background for the amaretto. The liqueur is strong enough that you will still get a nice flavor using a whole wheat bread, if you prefer, but it will seem a little more indulgent with white bread.
If you want a similar effect without any alcohol, you can use almond extract in your custard base recipe. Amaretto has a distinct flavor and almond extract is a bit more aggressive, so you will probably only want a small splash of it in the mix – about 1/2 teaspoon – instead of two full tablespoons. This recipe can easily be doubled, and it can also be halved if you are making breakfast for just one or two. I usually serve this with a drizzle of maple syrup, but powdered sugar and sliced, toasted almonds are a nice finishing touch, too. You should get four servings with this recipe, though you may be able to dip more than four slices of bread depending on how large the bread you’re working with is.
For many, panettone is a staple of Christmas celebrations. It is a lightly sweetened yeast bread that is traditionally served around Christmas in Italy. The bread is rich with butter and eggs, and is packed with dried fruits and candied citrus. The fluffy texture, as well as its sweetness, put it somewhere between a bread and a cake. The beautifully packaged breads also make popular gifts for friends and coworkers, and many people end up with two or three around the house in addition to one that they bought themselves. The breads can be sliced and eaten plain, but once you have more than one you’re going to start to wonder what else you can do with them. Here are five ideas that will let you use up that leftover Panettone:
- Toast – It may sound simple, but panettone makes wonderful slices of toast that make a great addition to any breakfast. The flavors in the already buttery bread are enhanced by toasting, and the sweetness is brought out of the dried fruits, too. Spread toasted slices generously with butter (and even sprinkle with sugar if you’re looking for a sweet treat) before serving.
- Panettone French Toast – Another take on toast, french toast is a good way to use up any extra bread that you might have in your kitchen. The rich bread makes an excellent base for the eggy batter and makes a very indulgent french toast recipe. I like to add a pinch of cinnamon to my batter, as it goes very well with the citrus in the panettone.
- Eggnog Bread Pudding – Eggnog is another common leftover from the Christmas holiday. Combining eggnog and panettone into this decadent dessert allows you to really clear out your kitchen. The bread pudding is easy to make, and with the vanilla-nutmeg flavor of eggnog and all those flavorful fruits from the panettone, you will get a lot of holiday flavor in each serving.
- Streusel-Topped Baked French Toast – This breakfast casserole dish is a cross between french toast, bread pudding and coffee cake. It’s great for serving a big crowd and will use up a lot of extra bread (panettone or otherwise). The dish is rich and custardy, but eggier than a regular bread pudding, and it is topped off with a sweet, buttery streusel before baking.
- Rum Cake – Some panettones are spiked with a bit of amaretto or other liqueurs. If you have a whole loaf of the stuff to use up, poke some holes in it with a long skewer and generously douse it with a rum-sugar syrup (amounts vary, but 1 cup rum with 1/3 cup sugar is a good place to start). Allow the bread to sit for a day or two – well-wrapped – to soak it all up, then serve slices of the extra-moist cake as a festive treat at New Year’s.
Why wait around until dessert to have pumpkin pie, when you can have it for breakfast, too? Pumpkin pie is a custard-type pie with a filling made with pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, sugar and spices. French toast also has a custard base, made with milk and eggs. It is not a big leap to convert one into the other – and that is exactly what I did to make Pumpkin Pie French Toast.
I started with a mixture that I would typically use for french toast, added pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices and vanilla to it lots of flavor, and dipped thick slices of challah bread into it. Unlike pumpkin pie filling, I didn’t sweeten the french toast dip because I always serve french toast with plenty of maple syrup, so there is no need for any additional sweeteners. I used a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend, which you can make yourself or buy from the market, but you can substitute your own combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg instead, if you prefer.
If you like pumpkin pie, all you need to know is that you’ll like this french toast a lot. The consistency of the just-cooled french toast is a lot like that of pumpkin pie: creamy, tender and with a good pumpkin flavor. Maple syrup, or powdered sugar if you prefer, is a must, but this dish is definitely going on my weekend breakfast rotation this fall!
Chocolate is not one of the normal breakfast “food groups,” the way things like bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns (among other things, of course) are, so I don’t usually take it into account when I am starting to prepare breakfast in the morning. But that doesn’t mean that chocolate shouldn’t be a breakfast option on occasion, right? Chocolate chip pancakes are one of my favorite chocolate-laced breakfast options, not only because they’re tasty, but because it is easy to throw some chocolate chips into some pancake batter. That same trick doesn’t work for something like french toast, but it’s not difficult to turn that breakfast favorite into something chocolatey, either.
I added some cocoa powder to the custard mixture – the milk and egg combination – that I use to dip my french toast bread before frying it. I also added a little bit of maple syrup to the mix to take the edge off of the unsweetened cocoa powder, even though french toast is served with enough syrup that it wouldn’t make too much of a difference if you left it out.
The finished french toast tasted like bread pudding with a hint of chocolate to it: custardy in the center and firm on the outside. It’s not too sweet and has a hint of egginess to it, just as a good french toast should. I used some chocolate sauce as my “syrup” to make this even more indulgent, but it goes well with regular maple syrup, too.