Today we're talking about French toast. This morning stalwart most likely got its name from the French dish, pain perdu or "lost bread"—a poetic way to say stale bread. And slightly stale bread is one of the keys to French toast that has a crunchy exterior with light and airy insides. Essentially this is bread, soaked in custard, and pan fried; perhaps the precursor to bread pudding.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 cup milk
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 (1/2-inch) slices slightly stale country loaf, brioche, or challah bread
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Heat oven to 350°. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a shallow pan (a pie pan works well). Dip bread into mixture and let soak about 30 seconds on each side. Remove to a cooling rack sitting on a sheet pan. Let sit at least 2 minutes, but not more than 3.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt approximately 2 tablespoons butter (you want a thin layer coating the pan). Lay two or three bread slices into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, lay on a baking sheet, and place in oven about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining bread. Serve immediately with maple syrup.
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
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