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Almond-Crusted French Toast

Source: Tavern on the Green: Celebrate the New York Legend 150 Recipes for Good Times by Jennifer Oz LeRoy and Kay LeRoy
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  6 servings
This is a crunchy, nutty variation on the French classic pain perdu ("lost bread," perhaps because it is made with bread that is stale and would otherwise be lost . . .). In spite of the French connection, French toast for breakfast is a perennial American favorite and a fixture on Tavern's brunch menu. Serve it with crispy bacon and maple syrup.
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon rum, Cognac, or Grand Marnier (optional)
Nine 3/4-inch-thick slices brioche bread or other rich egg bread such as challah
2 1/2 cups sliced raw almonds
5 1/2 tablespoons (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, or as needed
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
Fresh berries (optional)
In a large, shallow bowl, use a fork to beat together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and rum, if desired. Dredge both sides of the bread thoroughly in the egg mixture. Spread out the almonds evenly on a platter or baking sheet and place a slice of bread down on the almonds, pressing down gently so that the nuts adhere. Turn the bread over and coat the other side. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat and add a few tiny slivers of butter. When the foam has subsided, cook the slices of bread for 1½ to 2 minutes on each side, until light brown. Add more slivers of butter around the edges of the pan when you turn the bread—and as necessary when the butter is absorbed—so that the nuts do not burn. Repeat with the remaining slices, reducing the heat slightly if the pan gets too hot. Cut the toasts in half and serve 3 halves per person, on warmed breakfast plates. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and, if desired, a few ripe berries.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Artisan Publishing. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 03/18/2009
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