Dear SOS: About a year ago, I was in Huntsville, Ala., attending a graduation at Oakwood University, my alma mater. While I was there, I visited a restaurant named 1892 East New American Restaurant & Tavern for a Sunday brunch. I ordered the crispy French toast, and it was to die for! Is there any way you can get the recipe? I live in California, so going back to Huntsville is out of the question, of course. I would be forever grateful.
Dear Richard: The trick to this French toast is a combination of cornflakes and buttery palmiers, which add great crunch and rich flavor. With a topping of apples and a dusting of powdered sugar, it makes for a perfect start to the day. Now you can have a little Huntsville right here in Southern California.
1892 East's crispy French toast
45 minutes. Serves 4
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, cinnamon, brown sugar and a pinch of salt over low heat. Cook, stirring until the apples are tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. While the apples are cooking, combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and increase the heat to high, stirring until the liquid bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and hold in a warm place.
Crispy French toast
1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups cornflakes
1 cup crumbled palmiers (you can substitute 1 extra cup cornflakes)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
Oil for deep-frying
4 slices sourdough bread, cut into ¾-inch slices
1. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to form the batter.
2. In a food processor, grind the cornflakes with the palmiers and powdered sugar to a coarse, sandy texture.
3. Heat the oil in a wide pot or deep fryer until it reaches 350 degrees.
4. While the oil is heating, start preparing the French toast: Dip the bread in the batter to soak, then press the soaked bread into the crust mixture on both sides to form a good coating. Place the bread in the fryer, careful not to crowd, and fry until the crust is golden-brown, about 2 minutes.
5. Drain the French toast on paper towels to remove any excess oil, then arrange on a plate and top with apples and a dusting of powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
Protein 21 grams
Carbohydrates 115 grams
Fiber 6 grams
Fat 32 grams
Saturated fat 10 grams
Sugar 52 grams