Do you have a grand aunt? A grand ole dame of a grand aunt? I do. And let me tell you, they are the best ever. Mine ran away to Spain in her youth where she spent many years doing what I probably will never fully know. She played flawless bridge, if the many trophies on her shelf speak true, and even flew to Monaco for a tournament, many moons ago, where she saw (ladies, hang on to your panties) Omar Sharif. She also made the best apple pie and pineapple upside down cake ever. She was a great cook and baker, and I still go to her for cooking and baking advice. Without her help I could have never made this. She can also mix a mean cocktail, learning at a young age under her mother’s exacting tutelage (note to self: teach little C to make my gin tonics). She loves to have wine and listen to live music, every Wednesday afternoon, at one of our more refined hotel lobbies, where the orchestra plays her favorites when they see her there.
She loves her crepes Suzette extra boozy to the point that at one of her favorite restaurants they have taken to calling hers “crepes a la R”…which simply means crepes Suzette with an extra generous glug of Grand Marnier.
This breakfast is the result of one Saturday morning’s craving for crepes Suzette, my laziness to actually whip up crepe batter, and my reluctance to let food go to waste.
French Toast “Suzette”
- 2-3 slices of day old bread (or older, I won’t tell), each sliced in half
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- A couple of pats of butter for frying
- 1 1/2 tablespoon butter for the sauce
- 4-5 tablespoons of marmalade
- Grand Marnier (optional if serving to children)
- Optional: fresh orange juice to thin
- Whisk together the egg and milk until homogenous.
- Heat a pat of butter in a non-stick skillet. While the butter is melting soak your bread slices on both sides in the milk-egg mixture.
- When the butter’s foam subsides, lay the soaked bread slices in the pan. Fry until golden brown, flip to the other side, and repeat. Do the same with the rest of the bread.
- Wipe down the skillet and return to the heat with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Once the butter melts and the foam subsides, add the marmalade. Stir until incorporated. If you’d like your sauce a little thinner add some orange juice (I like mine thick and luxurious so I left that out). Add a glug or two of Grand Marnier, if using, and cook on high heat until it bubbles up and most of the alcohol is cooked off (just 1-2 minutes). You can also opt to flambé this if you have the chutzpah. I'm still getting up the nerve.
- Serve the French toast immediately, with the hot sauce poured over.
I love love love this version of French toast…almost as much as I love crepes Suzette (one of my favorite ways to have crepes). And believe me, I am no stranger to French toast – the perfect combination of deliciousness and frugality. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy French toast, or are too deliciously lazy on one sunny Saturday morning to make crepes, or simply looking for a way to use up the remaining few slices of bread or the last of a bottle of marmalade…this is the absolute and unequivocal ticket.
Here’s more ways to use up your marmalade remnants if, like C, French toast is just not your thing.
Sometimes, when we look at our grandparents and grand aunts and uncles, it’s hard for us to see beyond the person who has been, for most of our lives at least, someone we consider our “elder”. But there is a whole other life there; one of passion and daring and grand adventure that belongs to a time leagues more glamorous than ours. All we have to do is ask about it. My grant aunt R may be living at a slower pace nowadays but she is living to the hilt…with every extra swig of Grand Marnier that douses her crepes! Cheers and happy breakfasts to you all!