Sunday, October 20, 2013

Food Blogging: French Toast à la Française

Today I made one of those staples of American cooking, French Toast.

Doing this here in Paris isn't hard, since I don't follow much of a recipe to start with (I guesstimate all the ingredient amounts, and it's pretty forgiving.  But making it in Paris gives you access to a slightly different set of ingredients than normal

Qu'est que ce?

ooh, la la!  Fresh pain de brioche from the bakery a block away.
And with that, we need to add some other ingredients:

  • Fresh eggs
  • heavy cream
  • butter (unsalted)
  • vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
and, to give some extra flavor while cooking in the pan:

And of course, an assistant to help in the kitchen:

Slice the bread to your desired thickness.  I went with about 1cm (1/2") this morning.

In a bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1-2tbs of heavy cream
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla extract (1-2 tsp)
  • pinch of salt (since the butter is unsalted)
The proportions are all very hand-wavy, I'm not sure if these are even close, I just go "that's about right" every time.  I should really measure it all out sometime.

But, doing it this way causes the cinnamon to do that thing where it clumps up, instead of diffusing itself through the mixture:

There's an easy solution to that.  Put the cinnamon (or any dry powder) into the bowl first, and add a tiny bit of liquid to it, and mix.  I've found that the alcohol in vanilla extract, or fatty/oily liquids work better than watery ones (milk is awful for this).  After a very short bit, you should get a paste that you can then easily mix into your other liquid ingredients (and the eggs):

Pour your mixture (this is the first round, where the cinnamon wasn't properly mix) into a shallow dish with a flat bottom:

Drop in 1-2 pieces of bread, depending on the size of your pan, and coat both sides of the bread.  Don't let the bread soak up too much mixture, or it will end up being too eggy.

Heat up your pan to medium or so (about where you fry eggs at), and then add 1tbsp of butter to the pan, and some of the walnut oil.  Mix the oil into the melted butter, and coat the whole pan surface.

You want a pan with a flat bottom, not one with a domed surface like this one.  Our good pans are in storage, these are the ones in the apartment.  I miss our Le Creuset cast iron pan, which is wonderful for this sort of thing.

If you don't think you've got enough cinnamon on the bread, you can sprinkle more on while it's in the pan (on the wet side):

Cook to a golden brown on both sides:

Et Voilà, c'est fini!

Using fresh brioche (which isn't too dry), allows the surface to be nicely cooked with the egg mixture, but without making it an egg-bomb.  Notice how light and airy it is.  A brioche with a fine crumb will work better than one with big air bubbles in it.

And now, for the test:

What do you think, does she like it?

Yeah, that's what I thought.  She likes it.

No comments:

Post a Comment