Nutmeg and lemon make this French Toast recipe just a little bit more interesting than normal.
By Khalilah Ramdene
French toast is what you do with leftover bread. In fact, the French refer to this dish as pain perdu or lost bread as it was originally invented as a means to revitalize old stale bread. A generous soak in a spiced eggy-milk bath easily coaxes the stalest of breads into an appealing dense custard, turning the previously inedible to the delectable.
Although history may dictate the use of stale bread for French toast, my appetite argues otherwise, and I will happily purchase a loaf of bread with the sole intention of making French toast. So please feel free to do similarly.
This recipe for French toast is a balancing act on all accounts. A crunchy exterior should give way to a creamy interior so a few steps are necessary to accomplish that. Allow your bread a languid soak in the egg-milk mixture. This is where it gets its flavor, plus there is something a little sad about dry french toast, so avoid that by soaking. A shower of panko crumbs add textural contrast and an audible crunch with every bite. It’s this careful ratio of crunch to custard that pushes this recipe close to perfection.
As for taste, both nutmeg and Meyer lemon impart loud flavors to a dish; ensuring that the two are harmonious is key. With that said, Meyer lemons, being sweeter than your average lemon, are a far more forgiving citrus, so if you like lemony things feel free to zest your heart out.
I like to finish French toast with a dusting of powdered sugar and fairly liberal amount of maple syrup, which in a perfect world, is how everything would end.
- 4 1" slices of French bread
- cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- zest of half Meyer lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 heaping cup of panko
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Meyer lemon slices
- butter for frying
- Preheat over to 350°
- Mix milk, eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Transfer mixture to a shallow dish add bread and soak for 5-8 minutes. Flip bread and soak for an additional 2-3 minutes
- Pour panko into a large tray and dredge bread on both sides until an even coating is formed.
- Heat butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Fry French toast until panko is golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer pan heated oven and cook for additional 8-10 minutes.
- To candy lemons: Add water and sugar to a sauce pan over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved and the liquid turns syrupy. Turn heat to low, add lemon slices and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove lemon slices from pan and allow to cool on parchment paper for 10-15 minutes