Author Notes: This is just another way to not waste good stale bread. Known as pane fritto in Italian or schnitte in dialect, this snack or dessert (or even breakfast, depending on how you look at it) from the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is as simple as can be. Think of it as French toast but with a few small tricks.
There are two main ways this is enjoyed in Friuli. One is a version known as pan dorato (golden bread), where the day-old bread slice is passed first through sweetened milk, then beaten egg and finally coated in breadcrumbs. It's fried and has a super crunchy texture outside, thanks to the breadcrumbs, and is soft and fluffy inside.
The second way to do this is the classic schnitte – the bread slice is passed through sweetened milk, then placed in a mixture of egg, lemon and white wine. The bread is fried in butter, oil or lard and then served hot, sprinkled in sugar. It's delicate, fluffy and wonderfully tart. Another traditional way to do this is without the lemon and the plain pane fritto is then drizzled in the Friulian version of vincotto (“cooked wine”, a sweet, dark, thick reduction of must, the leftovers of the wine harvest) – seek it out, or you can try a reduced, sweet balsamic vinegar. —Emiko
- 4 thick slices of day-old bread (a rustic country loaf with a dense crumb is best)
- 3/4 cup or 200 milliliters milk (or as needed)
- 1/4 cup or 50 grams of sugar, plus more for serving
- 1 egg
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- A splash of white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Soak the bread slices in the milk, sweetened with half of the sugar, for about 10 minutes, flipping every so often to soak evenly.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the rest of the sugar, the lemon juice, zest and wine.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain the bread slices from the milk, dip into the egg mixture then fry in the butter until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot, sprinkled with sugar.
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