French Toast with Caramelized Pears Morning! It´s the weekend, you've just gotten out of bed and have plenty of time for breakfast? Lucky you! Here is an idea that will make your morning not only free but also tasty....

French Toast with Caramelized Pears
French Toast with Caramelized Pears

Morning! It´s the weekend, you've just gotten out of bed and have plenty of time for breakfast? Lucky you! Here is an idea that will make your morning not only free but also tasty. I would venture to say, that just about everyone has tasted French toast. Whether you‘ve made it just to please yourself or because there’s a need to “recycle” those last pieces of bread that are beginning to feel a little stale.The paradox is that you actually NEED to use stale bread, if you have the appetite for French toast and there is a beautiful fresh loaf of bread in your pantry, eat it rather than using it for French toast. French toast is best when cutting the bread into thick slices and exposing them to the air overnight. I remember my first days on campus when we ate a lot of French toast because it was easy and there were so many variations depending on the “status of your cupboard”. We had just a few kitchen tools and that was when I realized how many things in the kitchen were unnecessary and the ones you can’t do without. (We had two pots but no kettle so we boiled water for tea in a pot.) Now, when we have more gadgets than a canteen kitchen (as I have 3 roommates and somehow “everybody brought a bit of everything”) we make French toast just occasionally, but when we do, we make “fancy toast” like these with caramelized pears. It is a nice autumn combination of sweet caramel and ripe pears accompanied by slightly sour natural yogurt. One last mention, be careful with these toasts, once your family wakes up to the smell of vanilla and cinnamon they will insist on such extraordinary mornings more often. On the other hand if you have some sleepy heads around, it is a great way to get them out of bed!

Martina

Ingredients:

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Pears cut in half

  • 2 tbsp of crystal sugar
  • 1 tbsp of pear liqueur
  • 3 medium ripe pears, peeled, without core, 0.5cm slices
  • 2 tbsp of vanilla sugar/ ordinary sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50 ml cream
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 loaf white brioche bread, about 2 days old, pretoasted
  • 150 g white yogurt
  • Honey

Directions:

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Bread

1. In a large pan, melt butter at medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, and cook stirring constantly until it is melted and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add pear liquor to dilute caramel.

2. Add pears coat them in caramel for about 2 minutes, remove from skillet, and set aside.

3. In a deep dish, combine eggs, cream, 2 tbsp of vanilla sugar, cinnamon and salt. Beat with a fork until well blended.

4. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large pan.

5. Slice brioche into 1cm thick slices. Dip slices of brioche into egg properly from each side, but do not over soak. Put immediately onto a preheated pan with butter and fry both sides until golden brown.

6. Then cover half of the slices of fried bread with sauteed pears, top with remaining slices of soaked bread to form sandwiches and re-coat in remaining egg mixture.

7. Transfer pear sandwiches back to pan and cook until deep golden brown on one side. Turn over, and continue cooking the same way. Remove and drain on kitchen towels.

Cook pear sandwiches until deep golden brown
Cook pear sandwiches until deep golden brown

8. Serve immediately with plain yogurt and runny honey, sprinkled with cinnamon and confectioners' sugar if desired.

French toast served with yougurt and honey
French toast served with yogurt and honey

French toast being French from 1871 ....

This dish does have its origins in France, however the first appearance in print as "French Toast" was in 1871. When looking for French toast in France you find it as "ameritte" or "pain perdu" ("lost bread"), in Spain it is called "torriga" and in England "Poor Knights of Windsor," which is the same name for the dish in Denmark, "arme riddere," and Germany, "arme ritter." In America you may find terms like "Spanish," "German," or "nun's toast," .... the origin may trace back to Ancient Roman times, one of the original French names for this dish is pain a la Romaine', or Roman bread. It was created as a recipe that reuses stale bread by adding extra moisture and protein. Still it seems that back in past it was a dish for the wealthy part of population as the recipe was found in many old cook books, and those were only in use of rich people as the poor ones didn´t have much choice on ingredients. Moreover, the directions said to use white bread (the more expensive one) and to cut off the crust which poor and hungry people simply could not afford.

Few last steps to perfection

  • use butter not oil for frying
  •  replace milk with cream
  •  pretoasting your bread slices gives them additional flavour and more persistent structure for soaking in egg
  •  you may also put the finished toasts in toaster, the result is way different, crispier but not that puffy but some people find it tastier
  •  finally one extra idea to make your French toasts even more special. It is quite well known that pears go well with cheese. Try adding a few slices of Brie cheese inside before the second frying or on the top of finished warm toasts. Brie has a mild flavour that does not out weigh the taste of pears.