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La Belle Cuisine - More Breakfast Recipes

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

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Norman Van Aken's "Down Island" French Toast

 

 

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 "Down Island" French Toast

Norman's New World Cuisine
Norman's New World Cuisine

by Norman Van Aken, 1997, Random House, Inc.

 Yield: 4 Servings

”Chef Van Aken tells us that the likes of Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse,
Colette Rossant, Barbara Kafka and Maida Heatter go rolly-eyed over this one!
The magic perfume of Curacao comes floating through this sweet brioche and
then the citric acidity of the sauce cuts through the richness like a hot
knife through the foie gras. “

Marinade:
1/2 vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup Cointreau or Curaçao
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 orange
12 ounces fresh foie gras, cleaned and cut in half.
If your budget allows, increase the amount of foie gras.

Egg Wash:
1/2 vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian, cut in half lengthwise
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 slices Achiote-stained Butter Bread (recipe below) or slightly stale
brioche, cut triangles 1/3 inch thick
1/4 cup clarified butter

Prepare the Citrus-Savory Caramel Sauce (recipe below).

To Prepare the Marinade: Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the tip of a knife into a mixing bowl, and add the liquor. Add the mace, cinnamon, and orange zest, and whisk together. Put the foie gras into the marinade and cover with plastic wrap. Slosh the marinade around a little and keep refrigerated.
For the Egg Wash: Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the tip of a
knife into a mixing bowl, and add the eggs and half-and-half. Add the mace
and cinnamon and beat the mixture together. Soak the brioche slices in the
egg mixture and allow them to absorb the flavor. Soaking time will depend
on the freshness of the brioche; the softer it is, the shorter the soaking time
(sometimes 1 minute is sufficient). Keep covered in the refrigerator until
ready to complete the dish.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees [F]. Remove the foie gras from the marinade and cut slices about 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thick. Reserve on a chilled plate and
discard almost all of the marinade. Remove the brioche from the egg wash and lay the slices on a plate.
Heat the clarified butter in a nonstick skillet, add the bread, and cook over
medium heat until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm
in the oven.
Reheat the caramel sauce and place 2 tablespoons on each warm serving plate.
Heat a nonstick skillet or pan and when hot, sear the foie gras slices over
high heat for 15 seconds on each side until seared and very dark brown.
Place the foie gras on the brioche in layers; a slice of brioche on the
bottom, a slice of foie gras, then brioche, another layer of foie gras, and
topped with brioche. Serve with mixed tropical fruits and orange segments,
if desired.

Citrus-Savory Caramel Sauce
 Yield 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Any extra sauce can be chilled and used again. It will keep for up to ten
days in the refrigerator. The caramel sauce can be chilled and reheated slowly.

1 3/4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon light soy sauce
Combine the stock, grapefruit juice, and sugar in a shallow heavy-bottomed
saucepan. Cook to the caramel stage; there will be wisps of smoke coming from the center of the pan. Carefully whisk in the cream. Allow the mixture to boil and deepen in color. Reduce the mixture to 1 or 1 1/2 cups, whisking
constantly. When it is caramel-dark, add the soy sauce. Strain through a
fine-mesh strainer and reserve.

  Achiote-Stained Butter Bread
 
Yield 2 loaves
This bread can be frozen, double-wrapped.

4 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons lukewarm water (110 degrees F)
3 3/4 cups flour
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 pound butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons ground achiote seeds

Put the yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the
water and mix briefly for 3 to 4 minutes with a paddle attachment at low
speed. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Add the flour all at once and mix at low speed. When incorporated, increase
the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time. Mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. When it is all mixed in, continue beating for 1 minute longer. Add the achiote and mix briefly for about 15 seconds. The dough will be sticky and almost like a batter.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Keep in a
warm place (if it is too hot, the butter will separate from the dough). Let
the dough rise until it doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch the
dough down, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, punch the dough down and divide it in half. Butter 2 loaf pans,
divide the dough between them and let it rise for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees [F]. Bake the loaves for 40 to 45 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn the loaves out to cool on a wire rack.


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