On a recent trip to New York City, I had a conversation with Regina Ragone, the Food Director of Family Circle Magazine. She said she’d had a note from a reader whose child had an egg allergy. The reader’s question was, “what can you do to make eggless French Toast?”. I got that glazed look I often do when I’m thinking about a new food invention, and said, “Let me go experiment. I’m like a dog with a bone on things like this.”
First thing to do? Find some bread. You’d think this would be simple at a place like King Arthur Flour, but some days its all about lemon pudding cakes and cookies, and there’s no loaf in the building. Today I was lucky and got my hands on a Maple Whole Wheat from one of our mixes from the tasting kitchen. Armed with 8 slices, I headed for the kitchen.
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/2 cup half and half
1/8 teaspoon egg nog flavor
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
I put the tapioca starch in a measuring cup, and added 1 ounce of the half and half. I whisked it to make a slurry, to avoid getting any lumps. Then I added the rest of the ingredients to make a thin batter.
You could add some cinnamon sugar or a few extra grains of nutmeg if you like. I wanted to see if this base did what I wanted it to do before doing any gussying-up.
And plopped the bread in the pan. Things looked promising: note the edge of the bread, where there’s a genuine French-toast-like ruffle of goo oozing just the right amount.
But how did it taste?
As we ate it, we all agreed it wasn’t exactly “eggy” tasting (how could it be?), but the flavor and texture certainly said “French Toast”. As we cleaned our plates, we started thinking of other things we could do with the batter. I speculated that we could make a very nice Monte Christo, then Sue Gray supplied the master stroke: “You could put cheese powder in the batter.”
That sent me right back to the mixing bowl. I made up another batch of batter and added 2 tablespoons of our Vermont Cheese Powder. I can tell you, if you’ve never had the combination of salty-cheesey with real maple syrup, you have one of the great culinary combinations on earth ahead of you.
So if you know someone who’s allergic to eggs and is missing their French Toast, send them this way. You (and we) will be making new friends over food, which is what we’re all about.