French toast has its roots traced back to medieval times when people ate meals made with foods derived from fish during Lent. There are several variations in the French toast recipe. One such variation is "Russian" or "Ukrainian" French toast which includes cinnamon and sugar as ingredients for batter and milk and eggs.
Ukrainians brought the Russian version of french toast in their immigration to the United States. They later evolved into their current form when they became popular among Americans, especially after soldiers from World War II had tasted them while stationed abroad in Europe.
Another variety is stuffed French toast. The bread used for stuffing can be plain white sandwich bread, brioche, Challah (especially appropriate for Rosh Hashanah), raisin challah, or french toast. The filling can be eggplant Casserole, vegetarian casserole, or the more traditional (and Kosher for Passover) fruit preserves.
How is french toast prepared?
French toast is a dish made from slices of bread dipped in egg, then fried or grilled with butter. It is a breakfast or brunch menu item in many restaurants but can be eaten any time. French toast is popularly served with syrup, butter, and bacon bits. Honey, jam, powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar are common variations for serving the dish. It may also include nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate chips (usually as garnish). The dish gained popularity in the United States since its first appearance on menus around 1910-1912. Its popularity further increased during the Great Depression when it was one of few things made cheaply. In recent years, chefs have experimented with various varieties, including gingerbread, pumpkin, and fruit flavors and toppings such as strawberry.
- 1 loaf of day-old bread
- 2 eggs
- vanilla extract
- melted butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup orange juice or apple juice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
- confectioner's sugar for dusting, optional
- The oven should be preheated to 375 degrees and greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
- Remove crusts from bread, and cut bread into 2-inch cubes. Place in greased 1-quart casserole dish or baking dish; set aside.
- In another bowl, beat eggs slightly with fork or wire whisk until light yellow; stir in milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until well blended. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and toss gently to coat evenly with egg mixture.
- Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown on top and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Add orange juice (or apple juice) and cinnamon or nutmeg, and toss to blend. Make sure to bake it for about 10 minutes longer or until applesauce is set. (Bread cubes should be soft but not soggy.) After removing from the oven, let it stand for about 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve warm dusted with confectioners' sugar, if desired—store leftover bread pudding in the refrigerator. Before serving, make sure to reheat in the microwave on high power for 1–2 minutes. Make sure to occasionally stir before serving again at room temperature sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and freshly grated nutmeg.
This bread pudding can be prepared a day ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerated. Reheat before serving in a preheated 325-degree oven approximately 15 minutes until heated through; remove foil and cook another 5–10 minutes to brown top.