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This week, as I bid farewell to my Bite of Brazil column, I am sharing one of the sweetest recipes I have in my family cookbooks.
Rabanada, or Brazilian French Toast, is a crunchy-on- the-outside, custardy-on-the-inside twist on a brunch classic.
I first shared this recipe when I taught a Brazilian brunch cooking class at NewBo City Market in January.
Brazilians are not big on breakfast, much less brunch, but this dish, which is usually served as a midafternoon snack, seemed to fit the bill for what a perfect American brunch demands.
The best part about rabanada is that, unlike traditional French toast, you do not have to wait for the inside to fully cook before taking it out of your frying pan, as the inside is only milk and not raw egg.
This minimizes the chance for burning the outside of your toast, and results in a delicious crunch, followed by a decadent and creamy center.
There is no sugar added to the eggs or milk, as the outer layer of cinnamon sugar provides enough sweetness to satisfy any sweet tooth.
While this will be the final installment of “A Bite of Brazil” column, I still have more family recipes to share, and I am happy to let readers know that I will be teaching monthly Brazilian cooking classes at NewBo City Market.
Thank you for reading this column and for helping me keep these recipes alive. Shining a spotlight on the amazing women who raised me, using my cooking and writing, has been the highlight of my career these past two years.
Follow @gauchaintheheartland on Instagram to keep up with my latest recipes!
Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast)
1 loaf of French bread, cut into thick slices
3 cups of milk
10 large eggs, whisked together until homogenous
Neutral oil, like vegetable or canola
2 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of cinnamon
Whipped cream, optional
The night before cooking, slice your bread and set the slices out uncovered. You will want the bread to be a little stale. If you have forgotten this step, spread your slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven for a quick broil. Broil on low for about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Begin by filling a deep pan with about an inch of oil and warming it over medium heat. Test the temperature by dropping a tiny drop of egg into it. If the egg starts frying immediately, your oil is ready. Maintain the temperature at a low to medium heat throughout your cooking.
As your oil warms, combine your sugar and cinnamon and set aside for later.
Now that your oil is warm, you will briefly but thoroughly dip your bread in the milk, then the eggs. Remember, you are not combining these beforehand, they are in separate bowls.
Immediately place in oil for frying. (Watch your fingers!)
Fry on each side until golden brown, about two minutes per side.
After removing your toast from the oil, briefly pat it on a paper towel and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer to the sugar cinnamon bowl. Toss while toast still is warm, then remove and set on a drying rack or baking sheet.
Serve fresh with, or without, whipped cream.