I first came across the concept "Espresso French Toast" whilst scrolling through the menu offering at Shelley's of Cape Town. However, not to be defeated, I thought "I wonder what that's about and screened as many magazines as possible for a recipe, but to no success, until I finally saw on Nomu's monthly letter, a recipe for Chocolate French Toast (more on that later) and decided to adapt it to my espresso French Toast idea, so here it is, "Espresso French Toast", for those who want to have their espresso and eat it, merging my passion for coffee and cooking together for what I call a "tasty" experiment. Before taking you on this journey of sensual pleasure, what exactly is French Toast, for those of you not into cooking and baking. In short, French Toast is actually the posh word for bread dipped in mixed egg and fried until well done. It is usually topped with something sweet like strawberry jam, maple syrup or honey. I'm also guessing it was devised in a French kitchen many years ago.
So, to work then. The good thing is that this is a really simple recipe if you know how to use a frying pan, extract good espresso and fry eggs of course. So you need;
Fresh arabica coffee
Good espresso machine
Non-stick frying pan
Fork to mix the eggs
3 slices of small brioche (measuring 7cm by 6cm)
Two spoons of caster sugar
Sliced strawberries, mascarpone and honey/maple syrup (optional)
An appetite, but of course.
Luckily, I've managed to capture the whole experiment visually to make it easy for you to follow. First up, break one large, preferably organic egg into a bowl, mix and set aside. Extract one double espresso into a shallow bowl and put two spoons of caster sugar inside and mix to dissolve. It is crucial that you extract good espresso – as you can see from the pic below, the crema – the sign of a well extracted espresso – has to be visible is ever present and with me, there is no compromising when it comes to good coffee.
Get your slices of brioche and place very quickly into the espresso mixture as you don't want the slices drenched in coffee.
Quickly take it out and place straight away into the egg mixture, making sure it is nicely coated in egg.
Place into a hot frying pan with a knob of butter and fry each side for about 2 minutes each.
Take out and place on a plate, top with something sweet like honey or jam, or if you are flashy like me and love sweet fattening things, top with a dollop of mascarpone, slices of strawberries and maple syrup.
So what does it taste like then ? Well ! you'll be pleased to know that the coffee elements have not been drenched out because of egg and butter. It actually had a vanilla and chocolate taste, almost like a dessert. Note that if you are going to drench your bread into coffee, the coffee should be good, displaying as much of the good qualities of a well extracted espresso as possible, so that the lovely taste is captured in the bread. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised, if not, let's face it, I won't be blogging about it.
Don't tell too many people about this recipe as I would love to serve it in my trendy cafe, if I ever get the opportunity to open one up before I die.
First published on www.fromcoffeewithlove.com/blog on 24 June 2009 by Lameen