7.01.2011

Recipe Box: Three Day Weekend French Toast

recipeboxheader
french toast with raspberry sauce

Three day weekends are just the occasion to linger in a sun-filled kitchen mid-morning, spatula in one hand, cup of coffee in the other. These mornings I move slowly. To me, there is nothing more indulgent and relaxing than preparing an unhurried breakfast, gently with deliberance. I'll tie on that embroidered, cheery apron that is too pretty to spill food on, inspect and wash produce with care, taste tiny spoonfuls from a simmering pot, nose through the spice cabinet and wipe down counters and wash dishes as I go.  All this while pausing to flip through a magazine, listen to a podcast or hover over the television across the room where Kurt is likely watching his morning Ted Talks. Sometimes there is music - I like songs best when I know all the words and I sing along, changing the pronouns to the names of our dogs, scooping the small one up to sing in his ear. 

Baguette French Toast with Raspberry Sauce
 Serves 4
Notes: 
This is our celebration breakfast, often reserved for holidays and lazy Sundays. It's not particularly difficult or time consuming, it just feels good. In fact, it may include all the most enjoyable aspects of cooking: the spritz of juice that mists your fingers when you zest an orange, swirling a sizzling pat of butter in a frying pan, flipping perfectly golden fried planks of toast. And that very satisfying shake of confectioners sugar - don't even get me started. 

Whenever we have leftover bread from Blue Dog Bakery, it is destined to eventually become french toast. We let the bread become dense and stale so it holds up when soaked in eggy french toast goodness. I like to make miniature toasts sliced from a crusty baguette but any sturdy-crumbed artisan bread with works nicely. Omit the honey and spices, and there you have my favorite slice of toast for an delicious Kentucky Hot Brown. Toppings are interchangeable in accordance with the season. I also like this with a scoop of mascarpone, a drizzle of honey and a few fresh figs or stuffed with maple cream, sliced bananas and dusted with cinnamon sugar. 

Raspberry Sauce: 

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp orange zest

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer for 4 minutes.  Stir frequently, mashing the berries with the back of a spoon until the mixture thickens to a smooth, red sauce. Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm over french toast. * If the seeds offend you, you may run the sauce through a sieve. 

Baguette French Toast: 

1 cup whole milk 
3 large eggs
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamon
1/4 tsp salt
8 (1" thick) slices of day-old baguette
4 tbsp butter
Additional raspberries, mint leaves and confectioners sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan, stir milk and honey over low heat, just to warm and melt the honey. Pour milk mixture into a bowl and cool. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add eggs, salt and spices. Whisk to incorporate. Submerge bread slices in the custard for about 30 seconds, thoroughly soaking the bread on all sides. Arrange slices on a baking tray or dish and allow to sit for 2 minutes. 

On medium-low heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large saute pan. Place a few slices of bread in the pan, and cook until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Transfer french toast to baking tray lined with parchment paper. Continue this process until all the bread is browned and golden. To get that lovely crisp exterior, place the whole tray of french toast in the oven for 5 minutes. 

Serve french toast with a drizzle (or pour!) of raspberry syrup, fresh berries, mint and a dusting of confectioners sugar.

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Other three-day weekend worthy breakfast recipes: 

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