One of the first dishes I learned to make was French toast. Over the years I have gradually changed the recipe, adding spices, sugar and vanilla to the mix; but with the use of the technique of Translation opens a multitude of new possibilities. Since I am concentrating on form; how can I change the form of French toast? I found some mini spring-form pans at my local kitchen shop and this idea naturally developed. If you do not have these mini pans you may use any small cake pan or even large muffin tins may be used. You may even go a step further and make your own form using a can that has its top and bottom removed (just remember to remove any sharp edges). Let your imagination run wild experimenting with different types of bread or perhaps even using leftover donuts or cinnamon rolls cut into pieces. You can further customize your creation by adding fresh or dried fruits, chopped nuts or even bits of chocolate.
4 Slices of Bread (preferably day old)
4 Large Eggs
1 Cup Half and Half
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
pinch Ground Cloves
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
Maple Syrup or your favorite toppings such as fresh strawberries
Optional: Dried fruit such as raisins and or chopped toasted nuts
2 Mini Spring Form Pans
Round Cutter slightly smaller than Spring Form
Baking Sheet pan with parchment paper or Silicone baking sheet
Cut a circle slightly smaller then the spring form pan out of two of the slices of Bread and dice the rest into ¾ inch cubes. You can optionally cut four circles and use one for the top and one for the bottom but I prefer just two so the dish is a bit more rustic looking.
Beat eggs in a bowl with half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.
Preheat a skillet to medium heat add a small amount of butter. Dip the round cut pieces of bread in the egg mixture and brown on one side.
Place the rounds browned side down into the spring form pans. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and fill the spring forms with the moistened bread cubes (if you have cut extra circles for the top, finish with the tops browned side up. Optionally you can also add toasted nuts, chocolate pieces or dried fruit such as raisins to the moistened bread cubes).
Bake in a 325 degree oven until done (about 30 minutes).
Variation - Use a small circle cutter (I use my cannoli form) to create a well in the center which can be filled with fruit, nuts, and preserves and into which warm syrup could be added.
To assemble unmold each and serve with your favorite toppings, or my favorite, a good quality warm maple syrup. Serves two or cut each in half for four smaller servings.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.