French toast, also known as 'pain perdu' in French, originated as a way to repurpose stale bread by soaking it in a mixture of beaten eggs and milk before frying it, resulting in a delicious breakfast dish enjoyed worldwide. I am not confident that it's origins are strictly French, but stay with me on that. Generally French Toast is considered to be a sweet dish, topped with all sorts of things from maple syrup, to jams, to butter and icing sugar, lemon, coulis, to fresh fruit.
Eggy bread on the other hand is also known as Gypsy Toast (from Ireland), or Poor Knights of Windsor (from England way back when), and originated as a simple dish made by dipping bread slices in beaten eggs and frying them, commonly served as a budget-friendly breakfast or snack and usually with savoury accompaniments such as bacon, sausages, or as we discussed in the video, vegemite, cheese or just salt!
Then the next level, not French at all, but Portuguese toast, is called Fatias Douradas and is basically this same recipe, but fried in quite a lot of oil, and then doused in loads of cinnamon sugar. (Hold my toast...this has to be tried!)
So what you thought was a basic simple breakfast recipe, in fact is steeped in history and I guess as it really is so simple and very affordable, it was bound to be eaten worldwide in one form or another. (So I don't feel so bad after all, for making English muffins into French toast, though I am sure there are some Francophiles out there who may not see it the same way!)
We do have a couple of other Frenchy Toasty ideas on here. Take a look:
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- 4-6 English Muffins ready to use Recipe
- 2-3 eggs
- A splash of milk
- 1 Pinch pink salt flakes BUY
- A dash vanilla extract BUY
- Lashings of butter to cook and to serve BUY
- Ten Times sugar (icing sugar) to serve Recipe
- fresh berries to serve
Premake the English Muffins well in advance. We freeze ours in between making batches and they keep really well.
Place the eggs, milk, salt and vanilla into a shallow bowl big enough to fit a few muffins onto the base. Whisk together with a balloon whisk until combined, but not fluffy.
I ended up piercing the muffins around the outside edges with a paring knife to allow more soakage! So do that, then immerse a few muffins at a time in the egg mixture.
Preheat a shallow frying pan to a medium high heat.
When muffins are well soaked, melt a generous knob of butter in the frying pan and cook the 'French toast' until golden brown on both sides. You don't want any raw egg in the centre.
Serve hot, spread with more butter, dusted with a generous amount of icing sugar and garnished with berries. Hard to have just one, so be prepared for that!