Hooray! After a teriible year in the garden, full of slug ridden cougettes, rotting tomato plants, withered aubergines and bird-pecked rasperry canes, finally some fruits for my labour. Strictly the blackberies growing on the bramble bushes at the end of my front garden aren't solely for our consumption, but living at the end of a cul-de-sac means that we're the only ones that actually walk past them. Hence a great haul of juicy black jewels at the end of every summer, and no one to have to share them with.
Whether you call it eggy bread, pain perdu or poor knights of Windsor, French toast is always awesome. Traditionally a dish created to use up leftovers (pain perdu, rather sweetly, translates as 'lost' bread), it's still about the best thing you can do with a loaf of stale Mother's Pride. (Ideally not actually Mother's Pride, something crusty and delicious would be better, but you get my drift).
I've become faintly obsessed with finding the perfect combination for my weekend brunch. I've tried different types bread including baguette, boule, wholemeal (sacrilege) and split tin; toppings of syrup, jam, Nutella and cream cheese; and served it with summer berries, plums and bananas. I've even tried a savoury version, stuffed with cheese and tomato and served with rashers of crispy bacon. Really rather good; beans on French toast may well have to be my next experiment.
It's not just for breakfast either; it makes a great summer pud served with grilled peaches or apricots and vanilla ice cream. Or when the weather turns colder serve with spiced fruit poached in port and maybe some creme fraiche for a proper winter rib-sticker.
This effort was borne from some tiger bread that had seen better days, soaked in gold top milk, eggs and a splash of Madeira. The pièce de résistance were the juicy blackberries, freshly picked from the bramble bushes in my front garden, sandwiched inside the bread. I have since modified it to include a layer of peanut butter inside, a master stroke which manages to elevate the, already pretty perfect, original to a true breakfast of champions.
Blackberry and Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast
For the Toast
2 Slices of bread (slightly stale is best)
1-2 eggs (depends on size of eggs/slices of bread)
A splash of milk
A splash of sweet sherry or Madeira (optional)
Pinch of cinnamon
A small handful of blackberries
Peanut butter (optional)
Butter or vegetable oil
Whisk egg/eggs in a bowl, add milk, Madeira and cinnamon and mix well.
If using the peanut butter spread over one side of both slices of bread.
Lay berries in the centre of first slice (peanut butter up), place second slice of bread on top (peanut butter down) and press firmly down around the edges.
Carefully place sandwich in egg mixture and allow to soak into both sides, turning if necessary.
Heat some butter or oil in a frying pan until gently frothing.
Add sandwich and fry until both sides are crispy and golden.
Serve sprinkled with icing sugar, maple syrup and fresh berries.