Recipe Courtesy of Chef Marc Matsumoto Fresh Tastes Blog, 2015
1 Tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
One 8.5-ounce package button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoons salt
3 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 ounces stale crusty bread, cut into small cubes
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until fragrant and translucent.
Add the mushrooms and salt and continue to sauté until the shallots are caramelized and the mushrooms are well browned.Add the thyme and white wine and boil until there is no liquid left.
Add the milk and bread, and then turn down the heat to medium low. Simmer uncovered, stirring regularly until the bread has disintegrated (about 15-20 minutes).The soup will be very thick, but if you prefer a thinner soup, just add some more milk. Adjust salt to taste, and add some ground nutmeg, if you like.
For a smoother texture, put some or all of the soup in a blender and puree. When putting hot liquids in a blender, be very careful as the sudden release of steam can blow the lid off of the blender sending hot soup all over your kitchen.
Marc Matsumoto is the food blogger behind Fresh Tastes Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.
There are many variations on Brazilian French Toast, many of them are fried in butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, like the Rabandas a version of Brazilian/Portuguese Toast that is served around the Christmas Holidays. Rabanadas are so popular in Brazil, and so traditional for Christmas, that during the holidays you can buy special bread – pan de rabanada – just for making them.
But for the record, Rabanadas are delicious any time of year. The recipe for Rabanadas migrated to Brazil from Portugal. Rabanadas are very similar to Spanish torrijas, which are typically eaten during Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain. These same pastries are known as torrejas in Argentina and Mexico.
Rabanadas differ from American French toast in several ways (though both are a great way to use up stale bread). Rabanadas are commonly enjoyed as a dessert or afternoon treat, rather than as a breakfast food. The bread is soaked in milk and/or wine, dipped in egg, and then deep-fried in oil. In Spain they use olive oil for this, which is especially good. The resulting “toasts” have crispy exteriors and are soft and custard-like on the inside.
And then there are the ones filled with cheese, like this recipe found in Bahi, Brazil.
The cuisine of Bahia is diversified but for for the most part, Bahian cuisine is of African origin with some European and Native influences. The food of Bahia is one of simple pleasure and completely unadorned. Such is the case with Pão Doce com Quiejo, which is basically a grilled cheese sandwich served with a sweet lime flavored syrup, eaten for breakfast and is simply delicious with coffee or orange juice and served for breakfast of brunch.
In the photograph, you can see that I topped my version of the recipe with apricots, just one little twist that made the dish extra delicious.
Pão Doce com Queijo
(French Toast and Cheese)
Recipe Adapted from Brazil: A Cook’s Tour
by Christopher Idone, 1995.
Ingredients: Egg Batter
3 cups milk
1 3 inch cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup raw sugar
12 3/4 inch thick slices good quality day old white bread
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butters
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
12 thin slices of Havarti cheese
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 2 inch cinnamon stick
1 strip of lime zest
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
In a medium sauce pan, add the milk, cinnamon stick and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Set aside.
To make the lime syrup, add the sugar, water, cinnamon stick and lime zest to a medium saucepan and bring to boil,stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Continue to simmer until the syrup thickens and appears to be medium amber in color. Set aside and keep warm.
Take two slices of cheese and place them between each 2 slices of bread. Trim away the crusts.
Stir the cooled milk mixture into the beaten eggs and add the milk and egg mixture to a shallow baking dish. Dip the ‘sandwiches’ into the egg mixture, thoroughly drenching the bread. place the dipped sandwiches on a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat half the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry the ‘sandwiches’ in batches for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Add the butter to the skillet as needed to complete the batches. Place the toasts on warm plates and dust with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon and serve immediately with the lime syrup.