Monday, March 23, 2009

French Toast: It's What's for Dinner

By Pat Tanner

I grew up one of seven children in a working-class Roman Catholic family. That meant that (1) we observed the Lenten restrictions on eating meat and (2) money was always tight. These two onerous-sounding facts came to mean, much to my childish delight, that at this time of year we often had pancakes or French toast for dinner. It is a tradition I still maintain even though my religious practices and my circumstances have changed substantially.

This version of French toast is my latest, greatest find. Not only is it delicious and simple to make, it relieves the cook from having to be at the stove flipping and serving individual pieces. It is equally good for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. I can’t recall ever eating pancakes or French toast for lunch, but I suspect that works, too.

Source: Georgia Pecan Commission
Makes 8 Muffins

16 slices cinnamon raisin bread
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
8 tablespoons prepared apple butter
Confectioners’ sugar
Maple syrup
Whipped cream (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line eight 3-inch muffin pan cups with large foil muffin cup liners.

2. Tear bread into small bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and salt until blended. Add bread pieces and toss well to moisten evenly. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans over all and toss again lightly to distribute.

3. Spoon some of bread mixture into bottom of each lined muffin cup, filling each cup about 1/3 full. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon apple butter on top of each. Spoon another portion of bread mixture on top to fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. Spoon remaining 1/2 tablespoon apple butter on top of each and finish with remaining bread mixture; mound it to generously fill each cup. Lightly press down on mixture in each muffin cup to pack firmly.

4. Bake muffins 20 minutes or until firm, golden brown, and slightly springy in the center. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm or at room temperature with maple syrup and, if desired, a dollop of whipped cream. (Note: muffin cup liners can be removed easily if muffins are cooled to room temperature.)

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