Wednesday, March 3, 2010
ALMOND CIABATTA FRENCH TOAST
Gale is a member of Les Dames D'escoffier which is the premier association of women culinary chefs and a James Beard award winning pastry chef.
"At Osteria di Tramonto, the Italian restaurant I own with my partners, we serve ciabatta, an Italian bread that has nice big, open holes inside. It's delicious fresh, but it really is not the same the next day...so, what to do with all the leftovers? We tried a bread pudding, but it was to firm for my taste. Then I tried making French toast with it-and it's divine! It's soft and tender from absorbing extra custard into all the spongy holes. Serve this with maple syrup or a dollop of ricotta cheese."~Gail Gand
3 large eggs
2 pinches salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Eight 1-inch slices round ciabatta
Unsalted butter, for cooking
1 cup sliced almonds
Heat a griddle over medium-low heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs well. Whisk in the salt, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Working in batches if necessary, place the bread in the dish and let it soak for 3 minutes; then turn the slices over and soak on the other side.
Butter your griddle and let the butter bubble. Just before placing the soaked bread slices on the griddle, place almonds in a single layer (but fairly densely packed) on the griddle, forming an area the size and shape of a bread slice. Press one side of the bread into the almonds on the griddle, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip the bread to the other side and cook until speckled golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.
Makes 8 pieces of French toast; serves 4 to 6
COOKS NOTE: Unless it is an oven French toast I always use an electric skillet for the cooking process. When I first read this recipe I was a little intimidated at placing the almonds in the buttered skillet to form the exact size of the bread; but there was really nothing to it and it turns out beautifully. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
'I never met a French toast I didn't like."~Adele Forbes