Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Portuguese Sweet French Toast

I've been debating with myself about posting this recipe.  Not because it's bad--in fact it's the best French Toast I've ever had, which is why in the end I decided to post it.  But in order to make it, you'll need to have Portuguese Sweetbread, which is not particularly accessible to most people.  Portuguese Sweetbread (see picture below) is a round artisan-style bread, with a very deep brown, soft crust and a whitish-yellow interior.  The texture is soft and spongy, and the flavor is sweet, with hints of lemon and orange and vanilla.  It's amazing.  And not just for French Toast--also for things like paninis with ham and swiss cheese. 
Portuguese Sweetbread

So check your local bakery to see if they have it.  If not, then here's what you'll need to do:

Step One: Go to your local bookstore or library and get the book "The Bread Baker's Apprentice," by Peter Reinhart.  Spend a day or three reading through it, because even though it's a cookbook, it's an amazing read.  Or maybe just to me.  Anyway...

Step Two: Starting early in the morning, make Peter's recipe for Portuguese Sweetbread, following the directions explicitly. Do not, under any circumstances, get annoyed that your bread is not rising as quickly as it should and therefore just move on to the next step.  Trust me on this one.

Step Three: Go to bed.  Making Portuguese Sweetbread takes a full day. 

Step Four: In the morning, slice nice thick slices of the bread, around 3/4"-1" thick.  Make the recipe below.

Step Five: Eat, then die.  There is nothing more you can do with life after this.

Portuguese Sweet French Toast

4-5 slices Portuguese Sweetbread, cut 3/4-1" thick
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom
Vegetable oil, or even better--leftover bacon grease, for frying
Butter, for slathering
Pure Maple Syrup, warmed

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat.  In a shallow bowl or pie plate whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom until frothy and well-combined.  Place bread in egg mixture and let sit to absorb the liquid for about 30 seconds before flipping to the other side and doing the same thing.  Meanwhile, grease the griddle with oil or bacon fat.  Place the soaked bread on the griddle and put in another one to soak.  Cook for about 2 minutes per side, until the bread is soft and spongy again and is nicely browned. 

Remove from heat and put on serving plate.  Immediately butter the top side of the french toast.  Pour real maple syrup and serve.  Enjoy!

Serves 2, in case you want to share.

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