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
thick slices of day-old bread (a rustic country loaf with a dense crumb is best)
or 200 milliliters milk (or as needed)
or 50 grams of sugar, plus more for serving
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.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.