“Oh, I just want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions and a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
French Toast is such weekend food! The sort of breakfast where you don’t have to rush, where you can dabble around the kitchen in your pyjamas and then demolish your meal accompanied by chatty family conversation, the weekend papers or a good book.
There are endless variations on French Toast, which is essentially bread dipped in an eggy mixture and then pan fried. It actually works better with slightly stale bread, but at a pinch I have made mountains of it with fresh bread and had no complaints. Gluten-free bread works just fine too!
Today’s version uses fruit loaf. Feel free to substitute plain or any other favourite bread, but I must say that the flavour combination for today’s recipe works well with any bread that has fruit and a little spice.
This meal takes little skill, so it’s a great recipe for beginners, children and the domestically challenged.
Bacon for each person, adjusting quantity accordingly. I have used a smoked local free-range bacon – the smokiness is brilliant with the banana and maple syrup!
Three large eggs, 1/2 a cup of milk (or your favourite milk substitute), a teaspoon of vanilla, and a dessertspoon of sugar or sweetener (eg Natvia). The sugar is optional. *Hint – use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon if your bread has no spice.* Some people like a sweeter French Toast. I usually leave it out because by the time you add maple syrup it will be sweet enough. If you elect to make this as a dessert (swap bacon for an ice-cream or whipped cream side!) then go ahead and use the sugar if you want. This is enough to soak 4 to six large slices of bread. (Four if they are thick, or six if they are thin.) If you’re cooking for more people, then adjust your mixture accordingly.
Bread – two slices of fruit loaf/raisin loaf per person or to appetite. A good quality bread like a sourdough or brioche will give an excellent texture, and if it’s a day old the bread will also hold its shape better when you fry it.
A large banana or two small bananas per person.
1 tablespoon of butter.
Maple syrup to serve.
Heat a heavy bottomed frypan, add a tiny wipe of butter and toss your bacon on to cook. This is fine to do on the barbeque hot plate too! (A super dish to make when camping.)
While the bacon sizzles away whisk your eggs in a bowl wide enough to accommodate a slice of bread. Add in the milk and vanilla, and the sugar and cinnamon if you’re using it. If using sugar, whisk until it is dissolved. Hint: Transfer beaten egg mix to a shallow baking dish big enough to hold multiple slices of bread at once if you are cooking for a crowd.
Peel and slice your bananas lengthways.
When the bacon is done remove it and place in a covered dish to keep warm.
Soak each piece of bread in your egg mixture, turning to coat each side, and then lower onto the pan. Don’t just dunk it – let the bread soak up your mixture like a sponge! The bread should be soggy.
If there isn’t much bacon fat, add a little extra butter, wait til it foams and then place your bread in the pan.
Fry the bread over medium heat until browned on the bottom – this will take a few minutes. Using a slide, gently lift each piece of bread and turn it over. Cook until the bread feels firm and has lost that spongy feeling in the centre. Watch your heat. If it’s too hot the egg mixture will burn before the bread is cooked through.
Place the bread on your serving plates add the remaining butter to the pan and quickly fry off your bananas, turning them so that they brown up on each side.
Add the bacon and bananas to your French Toast.
Drizzle with Maple Syrup. Organise yourself a beverage and a comfy place to sit. Enjoy!