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Fancy French Toast

Who doesn't love toast? Who doesn't love French toast? If you learn how to make this simple but fancy recipe, you'll never be short of a lovely breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner) idea again. It's dead easy, but it will impress whoever you're serving it to. On a tray. In bed. Ooh, la la!

At the start of this month, I promised that I would be sharing some simpler recipes for folks who are just starting on their home cooking journey. We started with this deliciously simple How to Scramble An Egg blog. Now, we're going to level up a little bit with some bacon and some egg mixture.

A French toast caveat

Listen. I like a bit of sweet and savoury together in a dish. I like my food to challenge me because Lord knows that nobody else does (I have very large eyes and I think this puts people off). But some people think that French toast is just some white bread dipped in egg, fried, and served with ketchup.

If you are one of those people, you get the hell out of my blog right now. We are making fancy French toast. I want none of that Wimpy-style eggy bread in my kitchen. We're adults here.

What you'll need:

  • A loaf of ciabatta. I like to use stale ciabatta for this recipe - it's a great way to reduce food waste. You can also use something like a tin loaf or really thick, white bread

  • Eggs - use one per person you're feeding

  • Splash of milk

  • Vanilla essence

  • Bacon

  • Bananas

  • Maple syrup

How to make it:

Step One: Prep your kak

You know the drill. Prep your meez. Meez = ease. That's my motto. Crack your eggs into a bowl, slice your banana on a bias (that just means diagonally) to make fancy slices, and heat some butter in a pan on medium heat.

Step Two: The egg mixture

I am prepared to take some flak for this mixture. But trust me. The vanilla essence makes all the difference. This is the way my mother made French toast for me when I was a kid, and I'm telling you - it's the only way.

Anyway, you make the egg mixture by mixing your eggs with a splash of milk and a really healthy dose (I'm talking two teaspoons) of vanilla essence. The ratio is really up to you, but don't make it too milky or your bread won't form a nice crust when you cook it. The point of the milk is just to remove that eggy taste from your fried bread and to give the crumb a lovely, luxurious, silky feel.

This is generally the colour of my egg mixture, so maybe aim for that when you're mixing it up.

Step Three: Fry it up!

I'm a firm believer in cooking everything possible in bacon fat - one because it's delicious, and two because my cholesterol levels currently permit this kind of lifestyle. Plus, it just makes sense. Once you've rendered all that lovely fat out of your bacon while it's cooking in the pan, why wouldn't you use it to fry up your banana and your French toast? Waste not, want not!

Anyway, you're going to start with the bacon. As I mentioned in Step One, you can help the bacon along with a little smear of butter in the pan.

Bacon has quite a lot of water in it - don't mistake the initial liquid released into the pan as pure fat. Let it cook off until your bacon starts browning. Then you'll know that the fat in the meat is transforming from chewy lard into a buttery crisp. When that's happening, pop your banana slices into the pan and let them enjoy a lovely browning on each side in your bacon fat and butter mixture.

Can you see the brown bits around my cooking bacon? That's a good sign that the glorious Maillard reaction is doing its job on the meat, and soon your banana and your toast.

Step Four: Soak your bread

Okay, so this requires a touch of delicate timing. Depending on the size of your pan, you could fry your bread and finish off your banana/bacon at the same time. I like to do this because it means that everything is served hot. But, if you're new to this, I'd recommend doing everything one step at a time. You can keep your ingredients warm in a preheated oven at 180 degrees, or you could microwave everything at the end like an animal. Just kidding.

I say soaking the bread because simply dipping it in the egg mixture is not going to produce that soft, almost gooey inner crumb that makes this French toast so delicious. It also depends on what bread you're using. Stale ciabatta stands up really well to a good soaking. White bread is a bit more of a pansy, so don't let it sit for too long or it will disintegrate - like most people do under my Village of the Damned gaze.

Step Five: Toast time

Once your bread is adequately soaked in your egg mixture, it's time to fry it in your pan. I like to fry mine in the leftover butter, bacon fat, and sugars that are burned off of the banana. It might look like the toast is a little burnt, but it's actually just coated in a hedonistic elixir of animal fat and fruit sugars. Oh, but the crust it produces - the crust!

Fry your bread on both sides until the crust appears.

Step Six: Serve!

Merci, Maillard, you blessed bastard. If you don't know what the Maillard reaction is, you should look into it. It has the wonderful quality of being both scientifically fascinating, and very delicious.

It's primarily what makes this dish, and many others, a smashing success!

Serve your French toast with your bacon, banana, and a good drizzle of maple syrup. It is the most divine combination of sweet and salty known to mankind. If you want to be really fancy, you can whip up a quick fruit compote by mashing some raspberries or blueberries with a few tablespoons of sugar in a pot and simmering for a few minutes.

100% guaranteed to help you woo whoever you're serving breakfast in bed to.





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