A long, long time ago, my friend Fanny made me pain perdu, or French toast as we Americans call it, in her Parisian kitchen. I had eaten plenty of French toast, but this was different. I asked her recently how she made it, and she said it was pretty improvised, like any good French toast! Knowing how to make something without a recipe is like having a trick up your sleeve. In the fog of morning, before coffee is even made, a few standard ingredients get mixed together and utter deliciousness comes out. The right bread, thickly sliced, beautiful organic eggs and milk, and that's it? Sitting down to a plate of this makes morning special, and with the holidays at our doorstep, I think we all need a little bit of just that.
Now that I'm living in Italy, in the absence of brioche, I've become fond of Panettone, Italian holiday bread. It's delicious and eggy like a challah or a brioche, but apparently very difficult and time consuming to make. I happily bought one at the fair-trade store, with no preservatives and only good things inside. My personal preference is panettone with raisins. The most traditional type is made with candied fruit, which I am not fond of. Raisins are the perfect addition.
Panettone French Toast
Cut 6 thick slices of panettone
Beat 4 eggs and mix with about 3/4 cup of whole milk
Soak the panettone in the liquid for 10 minutes per side.
Fry in butter until golden brown on both sides.
In a preheated oven (350 f or 180 c), bake for about 5-7 minutes just to make sure the egg cooks through. Don't leave it in for too long, since you don't want to dry out the toast.
Serve with real maple syrup.