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There’s nothing worse than dry, eggy French toast. That’s according to former Nopa pastry chef Amy Brown, who dreamed up a sweeter version of the classic brunch food back in 2010. Brown’s custard French toast recipe for Nopa is more rich, crème caramel than floppy bread, with a higher quotient of cream and milk to eggs, soaked up by buttery pain de mie. Brown has since moved on from Nopa to launch her pop-up Marla Bakery in November of last year, but the chef’s mark remains in the crisp crust with a creamy, oozy center that deliciously defies the term “toast.”
Custard French Toast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups cream
1 cup whole organic milk
1 loaf pain de mie or country bread, cut 1 1/4-inch thick to yield 4–6 slices
1. In a bowl, whisk eggs with sugar and salt until well blended.
2. Add nutmeg, cream, and milk.
3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
4. Soak pain de mie in egg mixture for 15 to 20 minutes in a deep, wide baking dish so bread is fully submerged.
5. Drain bread in a perforated sheet pan or pastry cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
6. In an oven-safe, nonstick sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Place soaked slices in pan, and let brown slightly on one side. This will help it set.
7. Flip the bread, and place the pan in the oven for 4–5 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven, and flip bread to the other, pan-seared side.
9. Place in the oven, and cook until brown, another 4–5 minutes.
10. Flip one last time, and again place in the oven for about 4 minutes.
11. You should have a golden brown crust and soft, warm custard inside, which is just cooked.
12. Serve with butter, organic Vermont maple syrup, and honey-roasted strawberries (stay tuned for the recipe for honey roasted strawbs, coming next week!)