I bought a new cookbook, The Medieval Kitchen. It contains recipes from France and Italy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Exciting! There are a number of recipes I'd like to try eventually, like "Orange Omelette for Harlots and Ruffians" and "Inside-out Stuffed Fresh Sardines or Anchovies". But in the meantime, it seemed pretty safe to start out with French toast. The original recipes don't include exact measurements, so there is a bit left to the imagination, but the general idea was fun to try. The secret ingredient? Rose water. I was a little afraid since I'm not a huge fan of perfuming my food, but the result was interesting. It seems that back then they really didn't distinguish much between sweet and savory. This may actually have been served (rose water and sugar and all) with game meat. Nice idea, but I am a product of this century and the last, and we eat French toast for BREAKFAST!
I used half white sandwich bread, and half sourdough bread because that was what was on hand, but the sourdough bread was much better. So the closer you can get to thick, old-fashioned stale white bread, the better. You'll also notice there is no milk. I believe that's why you can let the bread soak for ten minutes without everything turning to mush.
6 slices of real, stale white bread
1 tablespoon of sugar
3 tablespoons of rose water
6 threads of saffron
generous amount of butter for frying
sugar for sprinkling over the toast
1. Cut off the crusts from your bread to form squares and toast them until they are a light golden color.
2. Beat the eggs with 1-1/2 tablespoons of rose water and a tablespoon of sugar. Pour it into a large flat container large enough to hold all the toast in one layer, and soak the bread slices for ten minutes or less if it gets soggy.
3. Grind up or crumble six threads of saffron and steep in another 1-1/2 tablespoons of rose water.
4. Gently fry the bread slices in butter, turning frequently and being careful not to burn it.
5. When it has all been cooked, pile it onto a plate and sprinkle it with the yellow rose water. Sprinkle with plenty of sugar right before serving.
So if the day ever comes when you are left with rose water, eggs, and stale bread in the cupboard, now you have a plan, right?
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!