One of the first times I ever went to visit him, Yossarian took me to a fantastic little brunching spot in NYC called Baby Jupiter. The first thing on the menu to pop out at me was an item called "French Toast Yummy", a kind of stuffed french toast filled with cream cheese and orange marmlade, served with maple syrup and slices of fresh fruit.
Yummy was not the word. I haven't been so happy eating breakfast in years as I was that morning ... until now.
This morning I figured out how to make it myself.
I live by myself, so the following recipe serves only one. Double it if you must, or just eat it alone and be happy. Everybody knows french toast is best enjoyed naked at your kitchen table with nobody watching you, anyway. (It is!)
- 1 large egg
- ~3 tbsp. milk (in my world this means about 2 or 3 healthy splashes)
- ~1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1-inch thick slices of fresh Italian bread *
- cream cheese
- you favorite fruit preserve / jam
In a shallow bowl, combine the egg, milk, sugar and vanilla with a wire whisk or long-tined fork, making certain to break up the egg, creating a semi-homogenous mixture.
In the meantime, heat a non-stick griddle over medium heat until water droplets begin to 'dance' on the surface. Rub a pat of butter over the surface to coat (this is especially important if you're not using a non-stick griddle; if you are using a non-stick griddle, it just makes it yummier :) ).
Using one slice at a time, lightly dip the bread into the egg mixture. Flip to coat both sides. You do not want to soak the bread, or it will fall apart, but it should get a good couple of seconds in the goop to make sure enough sticks. I personally like to be able to see little gobs of egg-y stuff on my bread, so I slosh it around pretty thoroughly. Place each slice on the griddle immediately after coating.
Note that this is also a good time to start the coffee if you haven't managed to do so already; it should be just about ready by the time you're done. ( Everybody needs coffee. Coffee is good for you. Yay coffee!)
Allow the french toast to cook for a few minutes, or until the underside is an appealing golden brown. Flip to brown both sides.
Transfer the slices to a plate. Spread the top of each with a generous layer of cream cheese, and top with the jam or preserves. The original version of this dish was made with orange marmalade, which I highly recommend. I tried it with raspberry preserves and was mildly disappointed; it seems that more citrus-y preserves make for much more fun/weird taste sensations for some reason. Passion fruit jam is particularly delightful.
(Note that this is the lazy-woman's version of this dish. I've read recommendations in a couple of cookbooks that say that the real way to do it is to spread the bread with the jam and cream cheese immediately after soaking and before cooking, and then to sandwich two slices together and bake. Personally, I don't have the mental concentration to pretend to be able to use an oven before I've had my coffee, but if you're game to try it, bake the slices at 425 until the top is golden brown; turn to cook the other side, and remove when both are done.)
* I'm sure this will work almost as well using your standard generic Wonder Bread crap, but I'm a bit of a bread snob and highly recommend you use the real thing.