Monday, March 10, 2008

Almond Brown Sugar Croissant French Toast

Like most of my "recipes," there is a story behind this one. One Valentine's I got invited to the local radio station to cook a romantic breakfast for three couples live in the studio during the morning drive. It was a last minute kind of thing—well, I probably agreed to the gig far enough in advance, but the restaurant business has a way of making you deal with things at the last minute—and I thought of doing an upscale French toast.

Why I thought of French toast, I'll never know for we don't stock any kind of bread that's really conducive to French toast: sandwiches are simply not a part of our repertoire. Looking around the kitchen, however, I spied some stale croissants from a catering gig earlier that week sitting in the pastry station next to the bottle of almond gel (almond extract in gel form that is common in professional kitchens).

It didn't take a big leap from those two items on the counter to the phrase Almond Brown Sugar Croissant French Toast on the draft menu. In the radio studio, I served fresh strawberries macerated in Grand Marnier and a Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise over the French toast.

And a word of warning: I don't actually use recipes and this is just an approximation of what I would do were I to make the dish again. Treat this "recipe" like the Pirate's Code—"the code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules"—and you'll do just fine.

Almond Brown Sugar Croissant French Toast

2 c heavy cream
2 eggs
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t almond extract
4 croissants, preferably a little stale
clarified butter

Mix the cream, eggs, sugar, and almond extract. Slice the croissants in half and soak in the cream mix. Cook in a sauté pan with clarified butter until browned on both sides. Remove and keep warm while cooking the remaining croissants. Spoon strawberries between two halves of the croissants and top with crème anglaise.

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