my go-to breakfast is a green smoothie and a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter. for me, breakfast tends to be a meal where, once i find something that “works” (doesn’t leave me hungry or sugar crashed an hour later or make a million dirty dishes), i tend to stick with it. for a long time. until i’m rillyrilly sick of it.
occasionally though, even before i’m actually sick of eating the same thing for the 107th day in a row, i wake up craving something different. lately, the craving has been for orange french toast.
and can you blame me? citrus fruit is on the very short list of things that are in season right now and did i mention that the sun still goes to sleep at 4:30 so we need to infuse our days with all the bright colors we can get? also, vitamin c is not a bad thing this time of year… just sayin’.
so, yes, lately i have been craving orange french toast. on rosemary bread. wait! come back. hear me out?
even more than the rosemary flavor of this no-knead overnight rosemary bread (which does totally complement the orange, i promise), i really like the texture of this bread in the orange french toast. it’s hearty enough to not go totally limp and soggy but it’s not so dense that the egg can’t soak in and make it delicious. so if you’re really skeptical about the rosemary but want to give the bread a try, you could always bake up a loaf without the rosemary.
either way, if i may be so bold, may i suggest a cozy saturday night in with lentil soup and rosemary bread, then this orange french toast with the leftover rosemary bread on sunday morning? just promise me you’ll think about it…
as far as the orange itself goes, the orange flavor in this french toast is subtle but if you really don’t like orange, feel free to just take the tip about adding a splash of heavy cream to the eggs and run. if you generally like orange but think this sounds a little bit out there, then i urge you to give it a try – i think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
and, finally, bonus indulgent/crunchy crust tip: cook the orange french toast normally, dip it in maple syrup, then cook it again for a few more minutes to let the syrup crystallize a little bit. i discovered this by accident when reheating the orange french toast after it had gone cold while i photographed it (aaaaand absolutely drenched it in syrup, trying to get a nice action shot of pouring syrup on the orange french toast – the photo here isn’t even all of the syrup that ended up on the plate, i’m just trying to keep the photos here obscenity-free…). ). if you really want to go for it, it turns out (unsurprisingly) that mascarpone is delicious on orange french toast. perhaps you also have some leftover from un-baked ziti?
alright, orange french toast: who’s in?!
- 1 teaspoon neutral flavored oil, such as extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 large naval orange
- 3 large slices of hearty bread, sliced ½” (1 cm) thick – i highly recommend using no-knead overnight rosemary bread
- maple syrup, mascarpone, etc., for serving
- heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
- in a large, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, zest, and juice of the orange (zest before juicing, it’s much easier) until combined. bring the eggs and bread over near the stove. dip the first slice of bread in the egg mixture, flip it over to coat the other side, then transfer the bread to the hot skillet. repeat with the remaining two slices of bread.
- heat for a few minutes on each side, until the toast is golden brown and the egg is thoroughly cooked. transfer to serving plates and enjoy immediately, with your favorite french toast accompaniments (mascarpone is a new favorite of mine).
as written, the orange flavor in this french toast is not super strong. if you have orange oil on hand and you want a more pronounced orange flavor, try adding a drop or two to the eggs. i wouldn’t add more than that: in a test version with 2 eggs, i used just a bit more than ¼ teaspoon and i found the orange oil aftertaste to be too strong. (also, if you do have orange oil sitting around, i sincerely hope it’s because you’ve been baking this olive oil orange cake with cardamom glaze. yuuuuum!)
as mentioned above, bonus indulgent/crunchy crust tip: cook the orange french toast normally, dip it in maple syrup, then cook it again for a few more minutes to let the syrup crystallize a little bit.
if you’re feeding a crowd and need to make several batches, keep the cooked slices warm in the oven (200°F) until everything is ready.
adapted from the french toast in ruth reichl’s my kitchen year, which is a lovely memoir/cookbook, incidentally.
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