One of the pleasures of Sunday mornings is that they tend to be lazy. After a busy week, the change of pace created by a late start and an empty schedule deserve a special treat—and French toast fits the bill neatly. The classic combination of bread and eggs is a breakfast winner, particularly when accompanied by a generous dose of maple syrup.
In this decadent version, orange-flower water infuses the egg-and-milk mixture resulting in a slight hint of citrus, while the addition of raw sugar during cooking produces an amazingly crispy-sweet crust. Serve with a pot of coffee and a fruit salad, and presto—breakfast for up to eight people in a snap.
Orange-Caramel French Toast
1 loaf peasant bread
1 cup milk
1½ teaspoons orange-flower water
6 tablespoons butter, divided
½ cup raw sugar
Maple syrup to taste
Cut the loaf into ⅝" slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and orange-flower water. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl. Quickly dip the bread slices into the batter and blot any excess batter with a paper towel. The bread should be slightly moist, not soggy.
In a large frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add a couple of slices of the moistened bread and cook for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. Before flipping the bread, sprinkle each slice with 2–3 teaspoons of the raw sugar. Cook until sugar is lightly caramelized. Repeat with remaining slices.
Serve the french toast with remaining softened butter and maple syrup.
A loaf of bread from my favorite bakery, Our Daily Bread in Chatham, New York.
Orange-flower water adds a hint of citrus to the french toast.
(Photos: Michael Devine)