I learned to eat french toast buttered and then and coated with a thick, even layer of white sugar. So much sugar that it was crunchy. I don’t think I realized that this was strange until I got to college. Eventually I graduated to maple syrup, but lately I’ve become enamored with french toast with jam. It started with a jar of Sarabeth’s strawberry peach preserves. I think half the jar was consumed in a single day. Last night I made a pot of jam with rhubarb picked yesterday afternoon, which was slathered thickly on french toast this morning.
- 2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 slices of day-old, good bread (sourdough is nice)
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- a lot of nutmeg
- a little cinnamon
- a splash of vanilla extract
Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until rhubarb is very soft and starting to fall apart, stirring occasionally. You can taste it now to make sure it’s sweet enough. Add more sugar if you think it needs it. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the liquid thickens up. The whole thing only takes probably 15 or 20 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla in a shallow bowl. Whisk it till the eggs are really blended well. I hate it when there are eggy clumps on my french toast.
One at a time lay the slices of bread in the egg mixture, flip them over, and remove to a plate. I have discovered that the secret to making really good french toast is to just quickly dip them, but to then let them sit for a couple minutes out of the egg batter before you cook them. That way the egg mixture has time to soak in all the way to the middle of the bread, but they don’t get soggy from spending too much time in the batter. Stack the dipped bread on a plate. When you’re ready to start cooking flip the stack over and start from the pieces you dipped first.
Heat a little butter or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, lay the bread slices in the skillet and cook until nice and brown on the bottom. Then flip and cook until the other side is brown. Keep the cooked pieces warm in the oven while you do the rest. Serve with butter and rhubarb jam.