It might surprise you, but French toast did not originate in France, nor is it traditionally French in preparation. The process of making this dish goes back to medieval times and is ascribed to Spain or the U.K. as being a country of origin. In the U.K. this dish is called ‘Eggy Bread’ or ‘Gypsy Bread,’ and is traditionally served as a dessert at Christmas time in both countries. It is called French toast in North America because it is usually made using a French baguette.
To make the toast really elegant and to keep it ‘French,’ we make it with day-old large croissants. There are many recipes for Croissant French Toast, but the secret ingredient of ours is in the egg wash. This breakfast or desert entrée is the most requested ‘Breakfast to Remember’ at the Inn. It is easy, delicious, and the presentation is unforgettable.
Featured in Virginia Bed & Breakfast Cookbook, 3rd Edition
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp orange juice
- ¼ tsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
- small pinch each: salt, white pepper, sugar
- 2 large day-old croissants
- To make the egg wash: Use a 5×8-inch dish and an egg beater or hand blender. Break the eggs, add all ingredients except croissants, and blend thoroughly until mixture just begins to foam.
- Cut the croissants in half lengthwise, dip them in the egg wash, and press so that the air is forced out and replaced by the egg wash.
- Place cut face down on hot (375° F.) lightly greased heavy skillet or grill and toast to a golden brown – 3 or 4 minutes – flip and lightly brown the uncut side 1 to 2 minutes, then flip them back to the cut side for 1 minute.
- Place on a warm plate, stuffing or topping the open faces with the Southern Fried Apples (recipe at StonewallJacksonInn.com). Serve with a patty of fresh sausage and lightly scrambled eggs. If you don’t stuff or top them, dust well with powdered sugar and serve the fried apples as a side, using link instead of patty sausage. Garnish with a quarter slice of freshly cut pineapple (husk on) and a sprig of parsley.