Monday, July 4, 2011
Crazy About It: Croissant French Toast
It's been ages since I've done something sweet for you dear readers to enjoy at breakfast. Not since these waffles and these pancakes in fact. So today you are in for a real treat - you can thank me later, if you like. Let's talk about French Toast. I thought I loved it before, but now that I've made it with croissants, well there's no going back. It first caught my eye over at Food 52, saying "hey Renee! Check this out!" and I thought about all last week....thinking when I could make it, and for whom.
I'm not going to lead you astray with any sort of notion that this is in any way, shape or form health food. God no. Croissants are the epitome of indulgence; dip them in egg and fry them in butter and drizzle them with orange-infused maple syrup and it could be the best breakfast you'll ever eat. I figure I'm a Kashi cereal and almond milk girl 6/7 days a week, and a little Sunday indulgence is good. for. me.
My favourite part of this crazy good breakfast was how crispy the French Toast got, and how the syrup found its way into the buttery nooks and crannies of the croissant. Sometimes, with regular French Toast, the middle can be a wee bit, um, underdone, and it leaves a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth. But because the croissants are sliced in half, and briefly dipped, they get crispy outsides and fully cooked tender insides. I loved the crispy outside bits. Loved them. Loved them. Loved them. Be sure to warm the maple syrup, and do add the orange zest. If I had Grand Marnier in the house, I would have for sure added some (note to self: get Grand Marnier!) to the syrup. But it was totally fine without. And if you use day old croissants, even better.
This is a breakfast best shared with those you love. It's indulgent and impressive, but not too fussy or finicky. Like Merrill said, this French toast would be excellent for seducing lovers old, and new. I know it's in the back of my mind for when the time comes and I have to wield my super seduction powers. Just hope the dude is not on a diet.
My Auntie Kay gave me this fantastic old cast iron skillet recently, and I had so much fun frying in it. I'd seasoned it up the night before, and it did the French Toast justice. If you have one, use it, and if you don't, go find yourself one. I've seen lots at vintage stores, and they are worth purchasing. To season it, I was instructed to rub the skillet with lard (not vegetable shortening) and heat in a low 200 degree oven for 4 hours or so. Done. When I finished cooking in it, I let it cool then wiped it out with a damp cloth. Never ever use soap and water to clean your cast iron. Thanks Auntie Kay!
Croissant French Toast
4 croissants, day old preferably
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 orange, juice and zest
1 cup whole milk ( I used 2 % and it was fine)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
With a serrated knife, slice the croissants in half. In a shallow bowl, whip the eggs with the juice of one orange, a little zest (save some zest for the syrup), the milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add one tbsp of butter. Dip croissant halves in egg mixture, careful not to leave them in too long or they'll get too soggy. Fry one croissant (two halves) at a time. Flip once, when you can see the edges getting crispy. Have your oven turned on low - like 200 degrees- to keep them warm while you fry the rest. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup on low, add the orange zest, and the Grand Marnier. Keep warm while you fry the toast. This recipe serves 4, easily cut in half, or doubled, as need be. Serve warm, with fruit or whipped cream, or if going all out to impress, how about a little mascarpone cheese? Yum and yum.
If you are curious as to the little white flowers accompanying the strawberries and marigolds, they are in fact the flowers off my cilantro plant, which has quickly gone to seed. Pretty though, no?