Now that I am technically grown up- ya know, I do my own taxes, my knees pop and all I want to do is nap- I have realized what true love looks like.
It looks like a mom cooking her two children french toast on a school day at 6:30 a.m. because they begged her to the night before.
Never mind that she had to get up early to cook it. She never ate any herself and she definitely was left with a syrupy, sticky mess to clean up as her children rushed off to school.
I could say she was a little to blame, her french toast is the best I have ever had. So of course we wanted to eat it all the time.
Looking back on those school mornings, we had no idea how lucky we were. Each morning we sat down to the counter, our lunches packed for us, the car warming up to take us to school, we experienced generosity, kindness and love in the form golden brown, buttery french toast plated with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup.
And I am not quite sure we can ever repay her.
Truly good french toast requires two things: good crusty bread and a Julia Child amount of butter.
But it also requires either happenstance or planning. Because you want your bread to be old, slightly stale, a little dried out even. So buy your bread two or three days ahead, maybe eat the heels, and let it sit on your counter!
If you wake up with a hankering for french toast and you already have a country loaf have eaten from a few days back, you are in luck!
Why stale bread? It soaks up the egg mixture for quintessential french toast but because it has more crustiness it can’t soak up too much. This helps you stay away from extra eggy french toast and maintains the integrity of the loaf you so thoughtfully bought.
Now on to the butter….
Cooking the bread in heaps of butter is essential for a beautiful golden crust and gives the french toast it’s flavor. Do not skimp. Remember- Julia Child amounts of butter. She is watching.
Rustic and simple- this french toast has only six ingredients and a rather rustic recipe to go with it. Easy Saturday mornings shouldn’t require you to fuss over measurements or break out the recipe box. So get comfortable with the ratios in this recipe and adjust the egg mixture to the amount of bread you are using.
And if you are feeling fancy, make a berry compote to go on top and serve it up and drizzle with warm maple syrup. Oh, I like a little butter on top too.
Serves 2 or 6 pieces
3 slices of good, crusty white bread (slightly stale -2/3 days old), sliced 3/4 – 1 inch thick
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
pinch of salt
- Slice bread slices in half the short way, making six pieces of bread.
- In large bowl, whisk egg, milk, sugar and salt together until pale and frothy.
- Put 4-5 tablespoons of butter in a 9 inch skillet (avoid non-stick if you can).
- Heat skillet over medium heat, watching closely that the butter does not burn.
- Place bread slices in egg mixture, make sure both sides of bread slices are coated in egg mixture evenly and allow to soak while butter is melting.
- Once the butter is bubbling and close to browning, place the bread slices in the skillet. Bread slices will be closely packed in.
- Cook until they golden brown and the crust is crispy, approximately 4 minutes. Cook to taste, if you like a crispier french toast cook 4-5 minutes. If you prefer a softer french toast, cook less.
- Flip bread slices and cook another 4 minutes or until preferred doneness.
- Serve warm with butter, confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and fruit.