This time of year there’s a lot of focus on ornaments, roasts of beast, trays of sweet things . . . presents, glitter and glitz galore. And then there’s breakfast. Whew. A quiet time with just you or a few and it can be very special too. Here are a some of our favorites from Christmases past.
Pumpkin Eggnog French Toast has a seasonal twist worthy of breakfast on Christmas or any winter morning. The pumpkin, the eggs, a few spices and a splash of eggnog. Oh yes, eggnog. Grill it in more butter than usual, buy a special loaf of bread and celebrate something.
The French toast of my childhood was concocted by my cowboy father. He ran a ranch, grew spuds, trained horses, loved rodeos, and, he cooked. He made French toast with the usual eggs and milk and insisted that we should eat it with butter and brown sugar, not syrup. Up in the hills behind our ranch, he told us, the shepherds ate theirs this way. My brother and I went for it and to this day can’t eat French toast without the brown sugar. He would tell such stories while standing at the kitchen stove or squatting around a campfire, always in his cowboy boots and Levis, cast iron griddle ablaze. When we trekked into the mountains with pack horses there were a couple of cast iron pans jangling along in which he fried freshly caught trout and potatoes in bacon grease, and in the early mornings, French toast.
Not sure why it’s French. I read that in the 1600s the English soaked bread in orange juice, wine and sugar and cooked it; some time in the 1800s eggs were added to the mix. French toast has been around the block. It’s a versatile and universal process more than a set recipe – eggs and a little milk are required, after that there’s room for innovation like pumpkin and eggnog. Just eggnog, or just pumpkin. Push the limits a little and you have to wonder what else is possible. Cocoa powder for a chocolaty essence? Cheese?
Pumpkin & Eggnog French Toast Recipe
Ingredients that are locally grown and produced make this particularly of the season. This is my own made up version – eggnog toast recipes abound on the internet.
5- 6 eggs for 6 or 7 pieces of well-soaked bread
Slices of thickly sliced, sturdy textured bread
1/2 C pie pumpkin or other sweet squash, cooked
1/4 C eggnog
1/4 C whole milk
1/4 or less teaspoons cinnamon & ginger
A big pinch of nutmeg & salt
1 – 2 teaspoons brown sugar (you can skip this sweetener)
Butter for cooking, syrup or brown sugar for topping
Whisk cooked squash with the milk and eggnog (use all milk, no eggnog, or all eggnog if preferred)/ Add eggs, spices, sugar and mix vigorously until well blended/ Pour into a large flat pan/ Place slices of bread in the pan and allow to soak for several minutes on each side for a total of 8 or 10 minutes, depending on texture of the bread/ Heat a griddle or a large pan on medium-high/ With a large spatula, carefully place egg-saturated bread on the buttery griddle/ Cook in plenty of butter for 3 or 4 minutes per side/ Spicy aromas drift through the kitchen and holiday breakfast is ready. Serve immediately with syrup or brown sugar.
Refrigerate leftovers after they’ve cooled and rewarm for another quick breakfast. Admittedly, French toast is an excuse, a fairly healthy egg-soaked, protein-packed excuse, to have dessert for breakfast.
Winter solstice upon us and more light coming our way, Happy Holidays to all of our readers. We so appreciate your coming back time after time
Delicious brunch: Salmon, Eggs & Potato Gratin
And for the nights before: An Old Fashioned Christmas Eve