Crispy French toast
How to cook Crispy French toast:
- thick sliced bread, brioche or challah are particularly good
- eggs (one for every 2-4 pieces, depending on how custardy you want them)
- cream (roughly equal quantity with the eggs, plus more for whipping if you want)
- sugar (maybe a teaspoon per egg)
- salt (one little pinch per egg)
- vanilla (eyeball a splash)
- cinnamon (eyeball it, if you want it)
- clarified butter or regular butter (1 stick, 113g will cook 4-6 pieces once you clarify it yourself)
- panko or cornflake crumbs (maybe 1/4 cup, 40g per slice)
- berries, maple syrup, any other accoutrements
- Dry the bread slices by either leaving them spread out overnight, or toast them with low heat. I lay them on the rack of my oven and then get it heating to 350ºF/180ºC since I'll need the oven hot later anyway. If you've used the oven or a toaster to dry your bread, let the slices cool down and steam off.
- If you need to clarify your butter, put it in a narrow pot, turn the heat on low enough that it gently melts the butter and boils off the water before the milk solids start fizzing and turning golden brown — this takes 10 minutes for one stick of butter on my stove. Strain the butter and discard the milk solids.
- Combine the eggs, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and beat it all smooth. Pour the resulting custard into a cake pan or some other wide vessel for dipping the bread.
- Spread the crumbs onto a plate. If I'm using panko, I like to use my hands to grind it down into a slightly finer texture.
- Heat a film of the clarified butter in a pan over moderate heat.
- Dip your first batch of bread slices into custard and let them sit and absorb as much as you want them to absorb. You could just do a quick dip if you want them to still be like toast on the inside, or your could soak them for several minutes if you want them to be custardy all the way through. I like to soak them until I can feel them going soft but the core of the slice is still dry.
- Dip the wet slices into the crumbs on both sides, then fry the slices gently until golden brown on both sides. Don't worry about cooking the interior. Remove the slices to a cooling rack, wipe out the pan and repeat until you've browned all your slices.
- Transfer your slices to the hot oven and bake until the insides feel cooked and the outsides are crispy again, 5-10 minutes. Top with whipped cream, berries, maple syrup, etc.