You know how the first piece of French toast or pancake is just a test-run? You probably won't have the patience to wait for the pan and the butter to reach the right temperature before you add the batter (I never do), so the first candidate is blonde and floppy, destined to be devoured in two bites as you flip the others.
(By the way, this is also a funny-cruel way to refer to the eldest child: They're just your first pancake!)
If you're lucky, you'll then have a series of crisp-edged and caramel-brown pancakes or toasts, but these are often followed by those that are burnt on the surface and raw in the middle. These tail-end specimens are the result of a pan that's too hot, butter that's too browned, along with the incinerated particles of earlier batches.
Using ghee or clarified butter will allow you to pan-fry the brioche at a high temperature without burning the milk solids in the butter.Patricia Wells
It's a tip we found in the recipe for Blueberry and Orange Blossom French Toast in Patricia Wells' book, My Master Recipes. (It's full of all sorts of similarly smart kitchen know-how, like how to simplify stock-making and put the water your mozzarella comes a-bobbing in to good use.)
Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter because the milk solids—which are the heat-sensitive components—have been extracted and strained out in the process of clarification. Alternatively, you can fry in mild vegetable oil, like safflower or sunflower, for similar results, though you will sacrifice that buttery flavory.
And, of course, frying in ghee is no novel practice by any means. Food52 community member Panfusine has pointed out that ghee is a popular choice for deep-frying Indian desserts and confections, and passpartout noted that it's useful in all sorts of sautéing and deep-frying.
Since a jar of ghee will keep longer in your fridge than a stick of butter, it's useful to keep it on hand for whenever the pancake or French toast impulse hits.
What's your favorite use for ghee? Tell us in the comments below!