Fab French Toast

IMG_1595Hi breakfast friends–  Found this recipe in the Food & Wine Best of the Best year end cookbook.  It was labeled “Fabulous French Toast.”  And happily it lived up to it’s name!  It’s a little more work to start the night before– but if you have houseguests or friends coming in for breakfast, then half the work is done when you hit the kitchen in the morning.  I loved it’s sweet custardy texture.  You might want to give it a try…

FAB FRENCH TOAST
6 eggs
1/2 cup suar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups half & half
6 slices of sourdough bread, cut 1″ thick
butter for cooking & then for serving
maple syrup (of course)
berries, optional

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Then add in the half & half and whisk it all together.  Place the bread in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and pour the egg mixture over the top.  Turn the bread over once to coat both sides.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge overnight.

The next morning, heat your skillet and add in a bit of butter.  When it’s melted, cook the slices of soaked bread 2 to 3minutes on each side until they are nicely browned.  Then settle the bread slices on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray and put them in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes.

Arrange the french toast on plates and serve with mounds of butter and dribbles of good maple syrup.   Then dig in!

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Apple Custard Cake

DSC01558APPLE CUSTARD CAKE– This is a recipe adapted from Dorie Granspan’s  famous Paris kitchen.  She says it’s a recipe she keeps in her pocket to make on the spur of the moment.  All ingredients you probably have on hand and it’s creamy and custardy– just the best kind of old fashioned cake.

APPLE CUSTARD CAKE
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla
6 tab. whole milk (or half & half)
2 tab. butter, melted
powdered sugar to shift on top as you serve it

In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and salt for 2 minutes until it turns a pale yellow.  Stir in the vanilla, milk and butter.  Then whisk in the flour and baking powder.

Fold in the apples until every slice is coated with batter and then turn it all out into a 9″ or 10″ cake or tart pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  It will be bumpy and lumpy.  Just smooth it out the best you can.

Bake it up at 400 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes until it’s beautifully golden on top.  Dust it with powdered sugar through a sieve just as you’re ready to serve it.  It’s delicious still warm and always better with a mound of whipped cream at it’s side.

Raspberry Custard

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Hey there–  Those people at the Sprout’s market are pretty clever– They know if they mass boxes of pretty pink raspberries right by the front door of the store– so that you have to walk right on past them to get to the bread or bananas– well, they know, you won’t possibly be able to resist a tubful.  It works every time.

And after you’ve brought those tender little berries home, here’s a delectable way to consume them.  You can put the whole dish together in a few minutes and sit down with a book til it comes out of the oven.  Perfect!

RASPBERRY CUSTARD
1 cup flour
2 tab. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. box of raspberries (about a cup)
1/4 cup sugar

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  Then whisk in the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla.  Pour is it all into a 10″ baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the raspberries and sugar on top and pop it into a 400 even for 45 minutes until it’s puffy and nicely browned.
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This little dessert is so good hot or cold– an even better with a plop of whipped cream on the side.  Hope you run into some sweet berries and give it a try!

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

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Hey there–  Found this recipe that makes good old banana cream pie even better!  Add in rich dark chocolate and amber rum.  How’s that?  Took it to a friend’s house for dinner.  So I’m sad to say I only got to eat one piece. Creamy, rich, with that happy cooperation of banana and chocolate and the crumbling shortbread crust.  Oh mama!  I’ll have to find a reason to make another one again soon…

BLACK BOTTOM BANANA CREAM PIE
10 oz. shortbread cookies*
5 oz. butter melted
2 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate, cut into bits
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
2 tab. butter, cut into smallish pieces
2 tab. amber rum
1 tsp. vanilla
2 bananas
1 cup whipping cream**
1 tsp. vanilla instant pudding
1 tab. powdered sugar
chocolate shavings

IMG_2456Smash the shortbread cookies to crumbs (in a food processor or just just squished in a plastic bag with a rolling pin).  Mix the crumbs together with the 5 oz. of melted butter and press them into a 9 or 10″ pie pan.  Stick this in the freezer to set while you make the custard.

Put the dark chocolate bits in a heat proof bowl and set aside.  To make the custard, put the milk, sugar, corn starch and egg yolks into a pan.  Stir it up with a whisk continually over medium high heat until it thickens, 4 or 5 minutes.  (Beware–do not overcooks this or you’ll have an eggy mess.  Trust me, I know how that goes!)

Then scoop 1/2 cup of the custard into the bowl with the chocolate.  Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tab. of the cream and stir it up.  Spread it over the cold crust and pop it into the fridge (not freezer)

To the remaining custard, stir in 2 tab. butter and rum.  Stir it up and put it in the fridge for an hour– stirring occasionally.

IMG_2446To put it all together.  Beat the remaining whipping cream with the pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Slice the bananas in cute little circles evenly over the chocolate in the crust.  Layer on the custard. The spoon the whipped cream over the top. Stick it in the fridge for 20 or 30 minutes to set up.  Garnish with chocolate shavings just before you serve it to hungry, happy  friends.

*I used pecan sandies for the crust
**If you keep the whipping cream cold and stick your beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before you beat the cream, it will set up easier.

Finnish Raspberry Pancake

IMG_2021Hello all–  This recipe said “pancake,” so I popped it in the oven for breakfast.  And it was delicious– hot and custard-y and full of sweet raspberries.  But I thought it was so luscious that it deserved a promotion from breakfast up to desert.  So we ate if after dinner for desert that very night with a friend– a lovely light ending to a summer dinner.

FINNISH RASPBERRY PANCAKE
1 cup flour
2 tab. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. box of raspberries (about a cup)
1/4 cup sugar

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In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  Then whisk in the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla.  Pour is it all into a 10″ baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the raspberries and sugar on top and pop it into a 400 even for 45 minutes until it’s puffy and nicely browned.
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