Yesterday, I made challah for the first time. It turned out to be this gorgeous, soft, sweet bread.
I can't recommend Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day enough. Every single recipe I've tried has turned out extraordinary. I use his his Neopolitan pizza crust almost every other week.
This challah turned into French Toast this morning. The recipe I used was Pecan Rum French Toast from Cook's Illustrated. It was so good that Garison took one bite and said, "oh my wow." I can't really imagine a better-tasting breakfast. I read a book on French cooking yesterday and they said that the French do not eat French toast for breakfast, that it's dessert. I think that makes a lot of sense. This was almost like a coffee cake in flavor.
Pecan Rum French Toast
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated.
- 1/2 cups pecans
- 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 large slices cinnamon-raisin bread (Any bread will work, really. I used challah. Bread should be dried out, either cooked at 300 degrees for about 16 minutes or left out overnight.)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed (I used 2% milk)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons for cooking
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons dark rum
- Maple syrup
1. Process 1/2 cup pecans, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in food processor until coarsely ground.
2. Whisk milk, yolks, sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons melted butter, salt, vanilla, and rum in large bowl until well blended. Transfer to a 13- by 9-inch baking pan.
3. Soak bread in milk mixture until saturated but not falling apart, about 20 seconds per side. Use a firm, slotted spatula to pick up the bread slices and allow excess milk to drip. Place soaked bread on another baking sheet or plate. Sprinkle each slice of soaked bread with 1 tablespoon nut mixture.
4. Heat ½ tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. When foaming subsides, transfer 2 slices soaked bread to skillet, nut mixture side down. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer.