What happens when the minds behind Mission Chinese cross creme brûlée, French toast, and tres leches cake? An indulgent, 5-ingredient treat -- maybe the best pick-me-up we've ever had. French Toast Crunch is Anthony Myint's brilliant brûléed buttered toast resting in a pool of warm, sweet milk: our old friend milk toast, all dressed up. In his book, he lists 13 variations, from Matcha to Baklava. We've included a simple chamomile option, but feel free to make it your own. Adapted slightly from Mission Street Food (McSweeney's, 2011). —Genius Recipes
chamomile tea (about 1/4 cup whole chamomile buds or 2-3 tea bags, optional)
sweetened condensed milk, or to taste
to 8 tablespoons butter, softened
1-inch-thick slices heavy white bakery bread, like pain de mie or brioche
Warm half-and-half almost to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add chamomile, if using.
Steep, covered, for 10 minutes, then strain. Sweeten with condensed milk to taste.
Spread 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of butter on one side of each slice of bread. (It's okay. This is dessert.)
Toast, bake, or broil the buttered bread on both sides (starting buttered side up) until the edges are lightly browned.
Dip the buttered side of each piece of toast in sugar, then sprinkle on a bit more to coat evenly.
Broil the toast again, sugared side up, just till well-browned and crackly. Don't walk away. Alternately, torch the sugared toast on a metal rack set over a pan. Keep the torch nozzle 2 to 3 inches from the toast, and move it across the surface of the bread. Tip your pan to coax melted sugar toward unmelted sugar. Avoid torching the edges, because unsugared bread can ignite.
Serve brûléed toast in a hefty puddle of sweet milk.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.