Bacon French Toast! Well, maybe not specifically bacon, but pancetta. On Saturdays the local butcher/deli, Lorimer Market, sells fresh loaves of Pancetta Bread (supposedly baked once a week by the butcher’s mother). This bread is absolutely delicious. Almost immediately after tasting it for the first time I knew I wanted to turn it into french toast. This was my second time making it and, like the first, it turned out excellent.
I followed Alton Brown’s french toast recipe. I’ll have to write about my thoughts on Alton Brown soon, but for now I’ll just say he is one of the first places I go to look for recipes. I can always trust a simple, effective, and scientific based recipe. The scientific part is what always gets me, so much chemistry goes in to cooking after all. The first thing you will notice is that the recipe calls for day old or stale bread, well the pancetta bread comes fresh from the oven so that is a problem.
To compensate I threw my inch and half thick slices in the oven for a bit to dry out, but not long enough to toast. To me the key to Alton’s recipe is that fact you are only browning each side, and the final cooking goes on in oven. This means you can use really thick slices of bread and get a solid custarding throughout the whole slice.
To top the french toast I heated pure maple syrup with banana slices. The syrup turned banana-y and the slices turned almost candied. I had never done this with bananas before, so I was happy it turned out well. I also topped with additional fresh banana slices.
In the end everything comes together. The pancetta’s flavor and saltiness comes through just enough over the custard of the toast and the sweetness of the syrup. I like the bananas; they give an additional layer that is needed to compliment the pancetta. Watch out though, you do immediately want to lay down and sleep the rest of the day.
Next time: I made this for brunch with my girlfriend. As we were eating I commented on how it needed a creamy aspect, I suggested whipped cream. She retorted with ice cream. I’m a little mad I didn’t think of that. I’ve even had ice cream on french toast at Little Giant. So next time, it will be made with ice cream on top, and I thinking I will leave off the fresh bananas and instead add more slices to the syrup.
Side notes: This bread would also be delicious to make peanut butter and banana sandwiches on. Other ideas?