Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Staff announcement

For no other reason than I feel like it, I have decided to appoint a girl I met off the internet, Emelie Frid, as editor-at-large of Recipe Rifle. (You will remember her from her Jamie's Mince Pie Cookies post, which was such a success.) And when I say "at large" I mean that she lives in Letchworth.

The title of editor-at-large doesn't really mean anything, except that she will (when she feels like it) post here. And if she should ever find herself one day in the future doing drugs in the bathroom of a London private member's club, it's something to say, isn't it? I say that having no idea if she's ever done drugs before - we don't really have those kinds of chats - but in my experience, people doing drugs in bathrooms of private members' clubs are almost exclusively editors-at-large of media outlets. ("It's called Jazzhole. It's a cross between The Spectator and i-D. We're based in Bow. It's really cool actually.")
Anyway, as it's an entirely unpaid position, and Emelie is about to have another baby, the chances of her getting off her redheaded pregnant butthole and doing a post more than twice a year is probably quite slim.

And that's the kind of work ethic I like around here.

So here we go, French Toast Creme Brulee by Emelie Frid.

This is an American breakfast recipe. Now, I’m a confirmed sugar junkie regularly laughing in the face of certain diabetic coma, but I personally would find this a little too sweet to eat first thing in the morning. So I served it as dessert instead, which worked very well indeed. It’s almost like bread and butter pudding! However, if I WERE to have it for breakfast I would serve it with bacon. I’m healthy like that.

The recipe uses corn syrup. In Letchworth, where I live, it’s easier to find the Grail than corn syrup, so Esther gamely schlepped to the post office to send me an unopened bottle she had sitting in the larder. I don’t know how easy it might be to source corn syrup elsewhere – I mean, Letchworth is not exactly the centre of the universe. More like the armpit. If you can’t find it for love nor money, I have seen it suggested that maple syrup would work very well as a substitute. Or perhaps golden syrup?

For approx six servings you will need:

6 slices of white farmhouse style bread, about ½ inch thick. Or you could use whatever bread you fancy here – panettone? Brioche?

115g butter
200g brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
4 eggs
350 ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other orangey booze (full disclosure: I didn’t have this, so I chucked in some orange zest instead. It worked out great)
¼ teaspoon salt

HEADS UP: you have to prepare this in advance, as it needs to chill for at least 8 hours before going into the oven.

1. Melt butter in a small, heavy based saucepan on a medium heat. Mix in sugar and corn syrup and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish

2. Cut the crusts from the bread (or leave on – up to you) and arrange on top of the sugar and butter mix in the baking dish, in a single layer. You want them to have a tight fit.

3. Whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla extract, Grand Marnier and salt. Pour evenly over the bread.

4. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight if serving this for breakfast.

5. When ready to use, preheat your oven to 175C. Remove the dish from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

6. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven, until it’s puffed up and browned, approx 35-40 minutes. Don’t be afraid to bake this until properly browned – you don’t want it too soggy in the middle.

I served this with fresh fruit – banana, berries, kiwi – and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. And not that I would presume to tell you what to do with your children, but I gave a little bit of this to my young daughter, the feral Goblin, and was still trying to peel her off the ceiling an hour later. So next time she’s just getting the fruit and the yoghurt, no matter how imploring she looks when she holds out her fat little hand saying “Mmmmmmm, tack, tack?!”


  1. Other than encouraging me to make the wrong diatary choices, you both make me laugh. Thank you.

  2. A fellow redhead24 January 2012 at 11:53

    Sounds great! I managed to find corn syrup in a health food store in my town, a town which doesn't sell brioche anywhere, so I'd say health food stores may be a safe bet in a lot of places.

    (Also, hooray for more red heads on reciperifle.)

  3. I think agave syrup would be a great substitute for corn syrup as it has little taste of its own. On the other hand, maple syrup is always a good idea.

  4. Bacon with overly sweet french toast is a must...especially if it is slathered in maple syrup (I'm Canadian...we put maple syrup on everything!) So nice of Esther to send you some Corn Syrup...I can't find it for the life of me here in Edinburgh...just use golden syrup, same consistency! :)

  5. I love that you've turned being the laziest food blogger in the world into an art form and even created a job for someone else to fill in your boots when you're feeling uberlazy... you are a genius and a genius in that order!... lovely bananas on toast, I commend you both x

  6. I look forward to meeting her one day, possibly in the loo of some private members' club...dish looks delish.

  7. A warm welcome to Emelie! I know from Esther's retweets that her presence on Recipe Rifle will only enhance the experience for me. Perhaps it should be renamed Redhead Recipe Rifle. I LOVE "Jazzhole" and will subscribe if ever it's published.

  8. I agree that golden syrup would be the best substitute for corn syrup, as they are pretty close in consistency, while agave is nowhere near as viscous. And while golden syrup does have more flavor than corn syrup, maple has a lot more still, so go with the golden syrup.

    Oh, and if you like this, you should try another baked French toast from Pioneer Woman (food blogger in America, with whom I'm certainly not affiliated, just a fan). Find it here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/05/cinnamon-baked-french-toast/

    But again, probably best to ignore the "breakfast" suggestion, this is definitely more of a dessert. Unless you're serving it to at least a dozen people and each person just has a tiny sliver, alongside some fruit and protein. But it's like a pan of cinnamon rolls, without having to actually make yeasted dough and form the rolls. Yum.