This rich Sunday breakfast dish was inspired by my recent trip to Montréal and the gorgeous strawberries and peaches I picked up at the Union Square Greenmarket. This recipe serves two (or one if you are really hungry).
For the French toast:
- Two organic free-range eggs
- Two heaping tablespoons of Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup of milk (I didn’t have any milk at home, so I used unsweetened soy milk instead)
- A splash of real vanilla extract
- A splash of Sortilège, a liqueur made out of maple syrup and Canadian whiskey (you can substitute with regular Canadian whiskey, bourbon, or dark rum)
- 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon
- A dash of salt
- One-third of a day old baguette (or substitute any crusty bread), cut diagonally into 3/4-inch (2 cm) slices (I get my baguettes from the Bouley Bakery in Tribeca
Mix together ingredients 1 through 7. I do this in a blender, but you can whisk everything together in a bowl if you don’t have a blender.
Pour the mixture over the bread and let soak for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the fruit and maple syrup topping.
For the fruit and maple syrup topping:
- A handful of small, juicy strawberries, trimmed of their stems and cut in half lengthwise
- One small white peach, pitted and chopped
- One heaping tablespoon of brown sugar (or raw sugar)
- Two tablespoons of maple syrup
- A splash of fresh lemon juice
- A splash of Sortilège
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
When the bread has soaked up the batter and become soggy, melt a good amount of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted and hot, fry the bread until browned on one side. Then flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.
Transfer the French toast to a plate. Pour the fruit and maple syrup topping into the frying pan (no need to wash the frying pan in between). Allow the residual heat of the frying pan to heat up the fruit and maple mixture and stir. Pour the mixture over the French toast and voilà, c’est fini!
I took this photo last night, by the ACE Canal Street station in Soho. Great campaign. Makes me want to go back to Montreal.
This is a recipe for an orange cake that I got from Fred in Québec. He got it from his grandmother who got it from a newspaperway back in the day. The ingredients and the recipe are simple, but the results are delicious. Here is my slighty jazzed-up Anglophone version:
4 large free-range eggs
2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of white flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup of vegetable oil (I used a half cup of neutral safflower oil and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil to give the cake that Mediterranean je ne sais quoi)
2/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 and a half oranges)
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
powdered sugar (for topping)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 Celsius).
2. Beat together the eggs and the white sugar for 2 minutes
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and beat into the egg and sugar mixture
4. Beat in the rest of the ingredients except for the powdered sugar and transfer batter to a ring-shaped cake pan or a Bundt cake pan
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
6. Allow the cake to cool complete, remove from cake pan, invert onto a serving plate and top with sifted powdered sugar. Et voilà, c’est fini! Très simple et délicieux.
La Cabane à Sucre, known in English as a “Sugar Shack” is a traditional end-of-winter, beginning of spring tradition in Québec. This is the season where the maple trees are tapped to make maple syrup. (Random trivia point: Québec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup, more than all US production combined!). So the sugar shack meals starts with some bean soup, with bread and a lard-and-onion spread called “creton.” Then comes the omelette, bacon, sausage and “oreilles de crisse” – deep-fried cruncy pork fat. And if you are wondering how the maple syrup comes into all of this, you are supposed to pour maple syrup onto your eggs and pork fat. Believe it or not, it actually tastes pretty good.
And to make sure we get some vegetables in our diet, you get some cole slaw and you get to help yourself to some picked cucumbers, beets and onions. Also, be sure to save room for dessert – every imaginable combination and permutation of eggs, butter, cream, brown sugar and maple syrup.
(Below) Maple Taffy (Tire à l’érable) Maple syrup is boiled and then poured on fresh snow to form maple taffy. You pick it up with a popsicle stick and enjoy!