growing up i always had a penchant for sweet breakfasts – toaster strudels smothered in that sugary white icing, fluffy pancakes with big scoops of neapolitan ice cream, eggos with melted butter filling their little pockets, and slices of crispy french toast drenched in aunt jemima syrup. to this day, the only time i really care for eggs is in my dad’s frittata.
as always, my motivation to make something comes from a craving that sneaks its way into my head and won’t budge until i fulfil it. i think french toast made it’s way into my gluttonous brain when i was reminiscing about my trip to san fran earlier this year. on my last morning there, i walked about an hour from where i was staying in the mission all the way to hayes valley, trying to see every last possible thing before i left. i wandered around in the sunshine with my headphones in, taking in all the sights and sounds, until i walked right up to a la boulange bakery. (they’ve since closed and re-opened as la boulangerie; starbucks has bought the brand and started selling the goods in their stores, which is kind of a shame). starving, i walked in and ordered french toast with fresh fruit – and damn it was good french toast. i was thinking back at how lovely it was to be sitting there, eating this fluffy, sweet, completely decadent breakfast and reading – and i knew i needed a little reminder of what that felt like.
now, i needed another excuse to make breakfast because of that maple syrup i bought at mcewan while i was shopping for the broth in thai noodle soup i made. i picked up this beautiful bottle of handcrafted, barrel matured pure maple syrup and since it’s not acceptable to eat it by the tablespoon, it needed a vehicle for it’s goodness. in comes this egg bread. this beautiful, sexy, heavenly egg bread. what better thing to soak in eggs, cream, vanilla and sugar then fry in butter than slices of this work of art bread. (the answer is nothing).
crisp, caramelized edges, and a custardy, fluffy center, this tasted *almost* as good as la boulange. a little fancier than the french toast of my youth, but it definitely took care of my craving – so much so that i’m planning on making it again this weekend – but without forgetting the bacon this time – yes, even though it apparently causes cancer – but more on that in a later post. for now FRENCH TOAST AND BACON SATURDAZE.
2 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream (whole milk works as well if that’s what you have, you’ll just have a less custardy center)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or half a vanilla bean pod scraped, if you’re feelin’ fancy)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon – optional
2 thick slices of brioche or other good quality bread
2 tablespoons butter
maple syrup for serving
in a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, cream/milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
heat a pan over medium low heat and brush generously with butter.
lay a slice of bread in the egg mixture, letting rest for about 10 second, flip and let rest again.
add bread to pan and cook for about 2 minutes – resist the strong urge to press down on it with your spatula!!! flip gently, brushing pan with more butter and cook for another minute or so or until golden brown.
repeat with second piece of bread – if you can restrain yourself from eating the first slice right away, keep warm in an oven heated at 200 degrees while your other pieces cook.
drizzle liberally with maple syrup and enjoy!