French Toast- local and with Love
Toast is the perfect food. I love toast. It’s so simple, so satisfying and SO adaptable. I love garlic toast, dry toast, cheese toast, but my sweetest fondest toast memories are of French toast, and third grade. My mother never made French toast. It was a very special (to me) dish that my neighbor’s dad made for his kids before he took us all to school. Yep, french toast and off to school! We had just moved from the hills of Tennessee to the big city of Houston. My mom worked once we moved here- I was lucky to catch a ride to school most days with the neighbors. I usually walked over to their place and waited for them to finish getting ready- or eat breakfast. Usually they invited me to eat breakfast with them if I was there on time. The first time he served “French” Toast was the craziest notion I had ever heard. Honestly, having been raised on biscuits and gravy for my first 8 years, I didn’t quite understand the concept. Even when the syrup and powdered sugar came into the picture, I only “got it” once I “had it.”
It was heaven.
My friend Lana also loves toast. Also French toast most especially. I gifted this awesome soft sculpture of French Toast to her a few years ago after a wine soaked evening of food discussions and proclamation of toast’s perfection. I thought this was the cutest dang thing I’d ever seen on Etsy. For the life of me I can’t remember the artist’s name,but she made him nice and big for me. Again, a special piece of French Toast. She (the artist) explained to me he holds a microphone because he is ready to “make a toast” and the beret he wears- a sign of his obvious Frenchdom. Truly perfect French Toast. Lana loves him.
I made french toast for myself the other day. It was amazing. I saw Mr.Darla looking wanting-ly at it, but he had just returned from an early breakfast meeting and could not justify having any. I was okay with that. It was delicious. I looked up a few formulas and I did a “mash-up” Alton Brown’s and Emril Legasse’s recipes with the spirit of that nice man making breakfast for me.
I used local bakery “Slow-Dough” ‘s incredible brioche, I added my own dairy “twisty- twist” by using local dairy Mill-King’s whole milk and heavy cream (uh yummmm!), I used local yard eggs, all from the awesome Revival Market in the Houston Heights. I also poured from my own extracted vanilla bottle, used local honey and came up with a darn fine recipe for amazing french toast! Here it is:
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds (thanks Alton for the tip)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
8 (or less) slices day-old or stale Texas toast or my favorite, thick brioche
4 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
Powdered Sugar for dusting
In medium mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, vanilla and salt. Pour eggy mixture into a square glass pan and set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. put another sheet pan with another rack on it in the oven. Dip the bread into egg mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan on the counter, and allow to drip for a couple of minutes.
Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of ghee in a 10-inch nonstick pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on your warmed rack in oven for 5 minutes while you cook others. Repeat as needed. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.