Sunday, 29 July 2012

Cardamom French Toast with Apple Sauce

Suddenly chose to have maple syrup on hers...
Cardamom French Toast with Apple Sauce

While in India, I was happy enough to eat traditional Indian breakfasts, but beautiful granddaughter was ecstatic to find French toast on the menu one morning. 
We all ordered it, and were just a little perplexed when it arrived. 
Yes, all the ingredients were there, but the method of preparation suffered something in the translation.  Laying on each plate, looking most forlorn, a very flat cooked egg was carefully wrapped around a piece of cold bread.  We politely ate these without complaint, but they were certainly very odd.
Now that it’s summer time, and we have a bit more leisure in the mornings, when beautiful granddaughter asked for French Toast, I was happy to oblige.

These ingredients are on a per person basis.  Assuming that each person is entitled to two eggs in the morning, I make sure that my recipe is nutritious, and high on protein and not too high on carbs.  I made enough for just the two of us that morning.

4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon high quality vanilla
pinch ground green cardamom
pinch of salt
4 pieces nice whole wheat bread, a bit stale or lightly toasted

Mix the first five ingredients in a large shallow pan, such as a lasagnia pan if you have one.  If the bread is too soft and fresh, toast it just enough to dry it out a smidge, so that when you lay it into the egg mixture, it will soak everything up.  After the bread has soaked for a few minutes, flip it over, making sure that each piece of bread has equal opportunity to soak in the egg mixture.  It will need to soak for about fifteen to twenty minutes, being moved around from time to time for the mixture to be fully absorbed.

In the meantime, get your apple sauce ready.  Growing up in Calgary, I went to Catholic schools, so like most Catholic girls in Calgary, I reported to Sacred Heart School for grade seven home economics for a half day each week.  There we were to learn how to make apple sauce.

High above our heads, a blackboard loomed across the length of the huge room that contained four kitchens.  On that blackboard were a set of apple sauce making rules that were wondrous.  Apparently, four cooks were required to make applesauce, and each of these four cooks had to memorize twelve separate steps.  Instead of memorizing, I'd stare up wondering how on earth the teacher wrote those rules so high.  Did she use a ladder on wheels? 

When the big apple sauce day arrived, my duties were unknown to me, as I had refused to commit 48 rules to memory.  Since we weren’t allowed to so much as whisper a word of advice to one another, I relied on my common sense, which said you cut some apples up, pitch them in a pot with some sugar, and voila, they turn to apple sauce.

Not so.  Our group later sat down to cubes of blackened apples, which we glumly pushed into our mouths as we weren’t allowed to leave food on our plates.  Nor were we allowed to speak to one another, and it was all pretty humiliating.  I think there are lots of women in Calgary who have had the same apple sauce memory, so this recipe is dedicated to them:

4 apples, cored and cut into pieces. 
½ cup water or more
a few fresh grates of black pepper
several good pinches ground green cardamom
1 tablespoon jaggery powder or sugar

If you attended Sacred Heart home economics class, you’ll notice that I’ve skipped the apple peeling step.  Yes, on purpose.  First, every nutritionist will tell you that the many of the nutrients are right below the skin, so peeling an apple is extremely wasteful.  Second, any artist will tell you that apple skins are beautiful rosy sights, so ridding them of their red is creating a bland and terrible white sight. 

Pitch the apple into the pot, along with all the other ingredients.  Put on medium high, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to keep them simmering.  Cook until the apples are soft and easily squished.  It so happened that I was using Delicious Apples, which are a harder, dryer variety, so a longer cooking time was needed, about twenty minutes, and I added more water as it was needed.  I finally had to take my masher to them, to get them into a sauce.  If you use a softer apple, such as a Mac, yours will cook in about ten minutes, and may not even require mashing.  Once the apples are sauced, take them off the heat and set aside.  Put into a pretty bowl and decorate if you like.
Put a skillet on medium heat, and butter the skillet just a bit.  The flavour of butter is wonderful here, but not all the calories or cholesterol.  Carefully arrange the bread on the skillet so each piece has equal opportunity to cook.  If every drop of egg mixture isn't absorbed, pour the remaining bit into the centre of each piece of bread.  Cook for about five minutes, carefully lift to see if they’re golden underneath.  Flip and let cook for another five minutes.

Mine was served with the glorious apple sauce, but beautiful granddaughter suddenly balked at the thought, and hers was served with maple syrup instead.  
This French Toast is like custard on a plate, gorgeous, nutritious and filling, without being overly rich or carby, unless of course, you lavish it with maple syrup…  Oh well, apologies to our home-ec teacher, Miss Berscheid.


  1. Am definitely gonna try this out!! Have started feeling hungry after just reading the preparation!! Seems like your grand-daughter is well pampered by her Grandma lucky little girl :) And this recipe looks & sounds so yummy Mary :)

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