I woke up yesterday morning with one thing on the brain, its time to make french toast! On Friday night, my wife, Shanna, and I had the opportunity to spend the evening at a cocktail party with some friends. The drinks were delicious, and over a split drunken cheesesteak, Shanna divulged that she was going to want french toast in the morning. On the way home, I was already making my shopping list....
The morning rolled around, I rolled out of bed, give a kiss to my lovely sleeping wife, and could tell that I would have to opportunity to get to the store before hungry mouths prevailed. While working at Dettera Restaurant, I had the opportunity to work their brunch service, which is where I learned to make french toast the only way that it really should...dipped in creme brule batter! This involves 4 things, eggs, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla bean. It just so happens I had a bourbon soaked vanilla bean in the fridge (but vanilla extract can be used in a pinch) and sugar in the pantry, so it was just some eggs, heavy cream, and the all important bread.
It should be said that choosing the right kind of bread is important for french toast. In theory, you can use any bread you'd like, but you have to keep in a mind a few things. You have to remember that you're dipping your bread slices in a batter, so they're going to get wet! If you bread is cut too thin or is really fluffy, the bread is going disitegrate and make a mess. The classic choices are a nice brioche or challa bread. Luckily they had challa bread at the store, which is Shanna's favorite.
After a quick detour at Dunkin for a morning pick-me-up, it was back home and straight into the kitchen. I plugged in my electric griddle to let it warm up and got to making the batter. For fancy presentation or making actual creme brule, we would only want to use the egg yolks, but since Shanna was awake, whole eggs are just fine for french toast. I added 5 eggs, 1 cup heavy cream, and 1 vanilla bean split, and cinnamon to taste, and mixed until smooth. Normally I would add sugar, but since we were topping it with sliced strawberries, powdered sugar, and maple syrup, we decided to omit it. The challa loaf was sliced into 1/2" slices, making sure they were sturdy enough to take a dip.
With the griddle hot, I added a few tablespoons of butter to set the stage. There's almost nothing better the smell of melting butter. After a few seconds in the batter on each side to ensure even coasting and absorption, it was straight on to the sizzling butter. Griddles are great because they allow you get many slices working a once, instead of having to work in batches. As I let these beauties golden, I took the opportunity to slice some strawberries and load some powdered sugar into a fine mesh strainer. Once they were to the desired crispiness (Shanna likes that nice crispy batter), it was a simple flip and a bit more patience.
Once finished, a quick artful stack on the plate, a drizzle of maple syrup, a few shakes of sugar and some delicious organic strawberries, and breakfast was served. A few bites in, Shanna says to me, "I would marry you again, you are the best husband." And that's how you make Thyme Bandit's Best Husband French Toast.