Often known as ache perdu, poor knights of Windsor and, most precisely, if least romantically, eggy bread, this straightforward piece of culinary genius has been giving pleasure because the final days of Rome – maybe a much less decadent period than is popularly believed, given its thrifty methods with stale loaves. Candy or savoury, even vegan, it’s not only for breakfast.
Prep 25 min (if making clarified butter)
Prepare dinner 3 min
Serves 2, and simply doubled
100g unsalted butter (see step 1)
2 tsp granulated sugar, plus further to complete
¼ tsp salt
A pinch of floor cloves
A pinch of floor mace
A pinch of floor nutmeg
¼ tsp floor cinnamon
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon (non-obligatory)
2 tsp plain flour
2 x 2cm-thick slices good white bread, ideally barely stale
1 A phrase on the fats
Although you need to use two tablespoons of butter straight from the packet for this, it’s value taking the time to make clear it in case you can, particularly in case you’re making just a few rounds, as a result of that may cease the milk solids burning within the pan. Alternatively, use ghee, or, in case you’d want to maintain issues dairy-free, two tablespoons of impartial oil as a substitute.
2 Make clear the butter
To make the clarified butter, soften 100g butter (this can make greater than you want right here, nevertheless it retains properly, so it’s value making further) in a small pan over a medium-high warmth till a layer of thick, white foam rises (these are the stable milk proteins, that are wont to burn at a excessive warmth) and it begins to bubble vigorously because the water evaporates.
3 Pressure and funky
Flip down the warmth underneath the pan and proceed to simmer gently till the froth sinks and the fats stops effervescent, being cautious that the white bits on the underside don’t catch and burn. Pressure the butter by a clear material to separate out the stable milk proteins. The clarified butter is now prepared to make use of, although it is going to hold for no less than six months, as long as it’s chilled in a sealed container.
4 Begin the batter
Soften a tablespoon of the clarified butter (assuming you’re working with it from chilled). Beat the eggs in a bowl, then whisk within the melted butter, sugar, salt, spices and lemon zest. Combine up the spices as you want: use simply cinnamon, omit the cloves altogether, add floor cardamom or fennel seeds as a substitute – no matter you assume is perhaps good. The identical goes for the citrus zest.
5 End the batter
Put the flour in a large bowl and whisk in a bit of of the egg combination to make a paste (in case you want, you need to use a gluten-free flour, resembling cornflour, or depart it out altogether; it’s not important, nevertheless it does assist with crispness).
Step by step beat in the remainder of the egg combination till you could have a clean batter.
6 Soak the bread, then fry
Soak the bread (gluten-free, if vital) within the batter combination for 30 seconds on either side, till mushy however not floppy.
In the meantime, warmth one other tablespoon of butter or fats in a frying pan on a medium-high warmth. As soon as sizzling, lay within the bread and depart to cook dinner undisturbed for about two minutes, till golden and crisp beneath.
7 Flip, fry and serve sizzling
Flip over the bread, cook dinner for a minute (or a bit of longer) on the opposite facet, till equally golden, then switch to plates, sprinkle with sugar or drizzle with honey, and serve with indecent haste whereas the French toasts are nonetheless sizzling and crunchy (or hold them heat in a low oven, if that makes life simpler).
8 A vegan various …
For a vegan model, whisk two tablespoons of chickpea (gram) flour into 100ml plant milk rather than the eggs, and add a tablespoon of impartial oil to the batter with the sugar, salt, spices and zest; cook dinner it in one other tablespoon of oil. In case your plant milk is sweetened, it’s possible you’ll want to dial down the sugar a bit of.
9 … and a savoury one
Omit the sugar, zest and spices, or change them with extra savoury flavourings of your alternative (grated parmesan and nutmeg, for instance), then prime with fried bacon or tomatoes. Or use the French toast as the bottom for a toastie, including a filling (cheese isn’t a nasty concept), topping with one other slice of bread and cooking as above.