Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Staff announcement

For no other reason than I feel like it, I have decided to appoint a girl I met off the internet, Emelie Frid, as editor-at-large of Recipe Rifle. (You will remember her from her Jamie's Mince Pie Cookies post, which was such a success.) And when I say "at large" I mean that she lives in Letchworth.

The title of editor-at-large doesn't really mean anything, except that she will (when she feels like it) post here. And if she should ever find herself one day in the future doing drugs in the bathroom of a London private member's club, it's something to say, isn't it? I say that having no idea if she's ever done drugs before - we don't really have those kinds of chats - but in my experience, people doing drugs in bathrooms of private members' clubs are almost exclusively editors-at-large of media outlets. ("It's called Jazzhole. It's a cross between The Spectator and i-D. We're based in Bow. It's really cool actually.")
Anyway, as it's an entirely unpaid position, and Emelie is about to have another baby, the chances of her getting off her redheaded pregnant butthole and doing a post more than twice a year is probably quite slim.

And that's the kind of work ethic I like around here.

So here we go, French Toast Creme Brulee by Emelie Frid.

This is an American breakfast recipe. Now, I’m a confirmed sugar junkie regularly laughing in the face of certain diabetic coma, but I personally would find this a little too sweet to eat first thing in the morning. So I served it as dessert instead, which worked very well indeed. It’s almost like bread and butter pudding! However, if I WERE to have it for breakfast I would serve it with bacon. I’m healthy like that.

The recipe uses corn syrup. In Letchworth, where I live, it’s easier to find the Grail than corn syrup, so Esther gamely schlepped to the post office to send me an unopened bottle she had sitting in the larder. I don’t know how easy it might be to source corn syrup elsewhere – I mean, Letchworth is not exactly the centre of the universe. More like the armpit. If you can’t find it for love nor money, I have seen it suggested that maple syrup would work very well as a substitute. Or perhaps golden syrup?

For approx six servings you will need:

6 slices of white farmhouse style bread, about ½ inch thick. Or you could use whatever bread you fancy here – panettone? Brioche?

115g butter
200g brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
4 eggs
350 ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other orangey booze (full disclosure: I didn’t have this, so I chucked in some orange zest instead. It worked out great)
¼ teaspoon salt

HEADS UP: you have to prepare this in advance, as it needs to chill for at least 8 hours before going into the oven.

1. Melt butter in a small, heavy based saucepan on a medium heat. Mix in sugar and corn syrup and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish

2. Cut the crusts from the bread (or leave on – up to you) and arrange on top of the sugar and butter mix in the baking dish, in a single layer. You want them to have a tight fit.

3. Whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla extract, Grand Marnier and salt. Pour evenly over the bread.

4. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight if serving this for breakfast.

5. When ready to use, preheat your oven to 175C. Remove the dish from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

6. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven, until it’s puffed up and browned, approx 35-40 minutes. Don’t be afraid to bake this until properly browned – you don’t want it too soggy in the middle.

I served this with fresh fruit – banana, berries, kiwi – and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. And not that I would presume to tell you what to do with your children, but I gave a little bit of this to my young daughter, the feral Goblin, and was still trying to peel her off the ceiling an hour later. So next time she’s just getting the fruit and the yoghurt, no matter how imploring she looks when she holds out her fat little hand saying “Mmmmmmm, tack, tack?!”

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