recipe, adapted from the beautiful book Tartine
Bread, is a relatively simple
breakfast that has fall weekend mornings written all over it. While most French
toast recipes rely on a skillet over a stovetop, Katie Howe from the blog Butter
Tree has baked up a version that cooks in a custardy mixture inside the oven. It’s
wonderful with maple syrup and blueberries, and we think sliced pears or figs
would be nice for this time of year, too. But Katie's recent post on
traveling to Berlin made us want to immediately hop on a plane—right after a hearty breakfast, of
2 slices day-old country bread, each about 1 1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoons butter, salted if you like
1. In a bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and milk.
2. Place the bread slices in
the custard base and let stand until the bread is saturated, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 350
4. Heat a skillet over
medium-low heat. Melt the butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Lift each bread
slice from the custard base and place in the pan. Cook the slices for about 3
minutes, occasionally pressing them against the bottom of the pan with a spatula
so the bottoms cook evenly.
5. Spoon or ladle more
custard base into the center of each bread slice. If the liquid leaks out of
the bread and onto the skillet, the bread slices are not quite sealed. Continue
cooking for 1 minute, pressing the slices slightly to seal. When the slices are
full of custard base, carefully transfer the skillet to the middle rack of the
oven. Do not turn the toast.
6. Bake the slices for 12 to
15 minutes and then gently shake the pan. If the custard base is still liquid,
continue baking and check again. Depending on the thickness of the slices, the
custard may take up to 20 minutes to cook all the way through. The French toast
is done when the custard seems solid and each slice appears inflated. You could return the French toast to the stovetop after taking it out of the oven and giving it a few flips to make it even crispier around the edges.
7. Using the spatula, remove
the French toast from the skillet and place them, caramelized-side up onto
plates. The skillet side should be caramelized and crisp.