Here’s my version of French toast with some lovely sautéed pears and a custard using Pernod (very French, oui?) and some other boozy flavors, inspired by my Ugly But Good cookie, with almonds, orange zest and anise seed. I’m not crazy about zest in my custard, so I opted for orange liqueur instead. And I’m starting to like Pernod. Initially, I hated it, but I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that I chugged it down like a shot of tequila. Don’t do that. - mrslarkin —mrslarkin
Test Kitchen Notes
Magnifique! Mrslarkins French toast was truly a treat! We had a breakfast for dinner tonight and this was the star. Pernod was only available in large bottles at the liquor store so I thought absinthe would be a good fill-in. The recipe is very simple, you can do other things in the kitchen as you are getting ready, which is always nice with breakfast foods. The French toast came out creamy, custard-like and delicious -- some of the best that my dining companions and I have ever had. The warm pears added a subtle sweetness and the absinthe gave it a bit of a bite which complemented the toast perfectly. I think the next time around I might throw an extra pear in to have some more to put on top. This is definitely a great brunch -- or dinner - There'sAlwaysPie —There'sAlwaysPie
For the sautéed pears
large pears, not too ripe, peeled and chopped
For the French toast
slices Challah bread, cut 1” thick, left out for several hours to harden slightly
heavy cream (or substitute half and half or milk)
large eggs, slightly beaten
Cointreau, or other orange-flavored liqueur
Amaretto, or other almond-flavored liqueur
In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium/low heat.
Add pears and cook for about 10 minutes or until pears soften slightly and begin to caramelize just a bit.
Add sugar and stir together.
Add Pernod and stir together. Mixture will thicken a bit. Remove from pan and set aside. And don’t wash your pan yet…you’ll use it again in a little while.
For the French toast
In a mixing bowl, combine cream, eggs, salt, vanilla, liqueurs, and sugar. With a fork or a whisk, mix well.
Lay bread slices in a casserole dish and pour custard over. Let soak for about 20 minutes, carefully flipping bread with a spatula every 5 minutes or so.
In the same pan that you cooked your fruit in, melt butter over medium heat, and swirl around the pan.
Carefully transfer the bread slices to the hot butter. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan. Cook for about 10 minutes per side. You’re looking for a lovely golden-brown toasty color on the cooked side. Turn the heat down a bit if bread is browning too quickly.
If pan is looking dry, add a few small pats of butter to the pan here and there. Let the butter melt, then flip your toast, and cook for about another 10 minutes.
Remove French toast to warm serving plates and spoon sautéed pears over. Serve with maple syrup and/or a little cream. A dollop of crème fraiche would definitely gild this fleur-de-lis.