Called pain perdu (lost bread) by the French, it’s easy to imagine that the whole idea of French toast was invented as a way to salvage bread that’s become hopelessly stale. Most of us associate French toast with breakfast, but it can also be served as dessert. It’s a real delight served with authentic maple syrup, but it can also be served with fresh fruit and/or whipped cream. One trick that always improves French toast, pancakes, and waffles is to heat the syrup by placing the bottle, with the lid loosened, in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes.
Makes 4 dessert or breakfast servings
8 slices white sandwich bread, preferably slightly stale
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, plus more to serve
Maple syrup (ideally hot, see below)
Whipped Cream and/or sliced strawberries or other fruit, to serve
If you like, cut the crusts off the bread. Beat together the eggs and milk and put the mixture in a baking dish or shallow bowl large enough to hold at least one slice of bread. Gently press a slice or more of bread into the beaten egg mixture until it has absorbed much of the mixture.
Melt half the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add four of the slices in a single layer. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Turn and repeat on the other side. Keep warm while preparing the remaining bread with the remaining butter.
Serve on hot plates (heated in the oven or microwave, if they’re microwave safe).
It’s almost universal in breakfast places that serve pancakes, waffles, and French toast that the food is served nice and hot but then, sitting on the table, is a cold container of maple syrup that will guarantee cooling off your food almost immediately. To heat maple syrup, remove the lid, and set the whole bottle in a saucepan surrounded with water (but not so much that the bottle is unstable) and heat gently for 10 minutes or so.
Excerpted from Kitchen Simple by James Peterson Copyright © 2011 by James Peterson. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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