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When we tested this recipe, it met with universal acclaim. "This is the best French toast I've ever tasted" sums up most of the comments. The difference between this and everyday, run-of-the-mill French toast? The quality of the ingredients. Start with a high-rising, golden-white, tasty white bread; challah is a particularly good choice. Slice it thick; we found 5/8-inch just about right. Bathe it in cream and eggs accented with nutmeg, vanilla and a touch of rum. Sauté it gently in butter; keep it warm in a hot oven, then serve it, on warmed plates, with sifted sugar and maple syrup. Crispy on the outside, toothsome/tender within, this is the French toast of which dreams are made.
6 to 8 slices bread, somewhat stale
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cream, heavy, whipping, or light
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or not), and set aside. Place 1 tablespoon each butter and vegetable oil in a heavy skillet, and set it to heat over medium heat. Alternately, heat an electric griddle to 300°F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, nutmeg, sugar, rum, and vanilla. Stir till smooth but not foamy. Pour the batter into a shallow casserole dish large enough to hold two pieces of bread snugly.
Place two pieces of bread in the pan; let them soak for about 30 seconds, then turn them over, and let soak for about 30 seconds on the other side. You want the bread to absorb some of the liquid, but not to become soggy.
Place the bread in the skillet or on the griddle (which you've greased with a mixture of butter or vegetable oil, or simply with non-stick vegetable oil spray), and fry till the underside is golden brown; this should take about 2 minutes. Turn the bread, and fry on the second side for about 2 minutes. Again, it should be golden brown. Transfer the French toast to the baking sheet, and place it in the preheated oven. Allow it to remain in the oven while you cook the remaining pieces.
When all the pieces are cooked, serve the French toast with soft butter and maple syrup. Or dust it with confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar. Yield: 6 servings.
Note: ordinarily you'd consider 2 to 3 pieces of French toast a single serving, but this particular recipe is so rich, and each slice of bread is big and thick enough, that we consider one piece a serving, particularly if you add fresh fruit and/or some breakfast ham, bacon or sausage.