From “A Nomad Homecook’s Perpetual Almanac Cookbook (The PAC)” (c) 2020 OTBI
I love French Toast with maple syrup, pecans, and whipped cream any day of the week.
Known in France as pain perdu,or “forgotten bread” utilising leftovers of the classic French baguette, it turns out that the French Toast existed even before France did as a country. It arrived in America via England as French Toast with early settlers in the 1600s and the name and technique for preparation stuck. Prior to that, in the 5th century BC, the Romans dipped slices of bread in milk (and sometimes eggs) before frying them, and called it Pan Dulcis. French Toast is known by many names across the world such as, Spanish Toast, German Toast, Nun’s Toast, Torriga, Poor Knights of Windsor, Bombay Toast, and many others. If you can prepare it or happen upon it at the grocery store, Jewish challah bread makes an incomparable French Toast. My recipe includes the distinct orange flavor, an homage to le pain perdu traditionale.
To offer your family quick, wholesome breakfasts any day of the week, take some time and a loaf of stale bread and cook a double-batch of French Toast. Freeze half the slices on parchment-lined baking sheets then transfer to a sealed container for up to 1 month for a quick heat-and-serve breakfast that you can enjoy in under 10 minutes any morning of the week.
If you want a true treat and need to feed a small army, try making Overnight French Toast Casserole. This is what I crave for Mother’s Day!
Cut the stale bread into 3/4″ slices, or dry out fresh bread by placing under a broiler for 2-3 minutes on each side. This will make the egg absorb better.
8 slices of bread
Combine and beat well in a glass pie plate.
2 teaspoons almond extract plus 1 teaspoon orange extract (or 3 tablespoons of any combination cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, hazelnut, rum, orange, chocolate, banana extracts, etc.)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 c milk
Bring a large, dry skillet to high heat. Test by sprinkling water on the pan; if it sizzles, it’s ready. (Adjust the time if the bread slice is thinner to avoid sogginess. Dredge the bread in the egg mixture and hold for the count of 3, then flip and hold to another count of 3. Cook in the skillet until crispy-browned, about 4 minutes, flipping hafway. Adjust heat down after the first few rounds so the pan doesn’t get too hot and begin to smoke.
Serve dusted with powdered sugar, raw chopped pecans. and hot maple syrup or berries and whipped cream, to your liking. A few scrambled eggs can help you take care of any syrup left on the plate.