Thick slices of sweet baguette soak thoroughly in the egg mixture for a custardy interior and a golden crisp exterior. Depending on the season, you can garnish the French toast with sauteed apples, fresh berries, peach or nectarine slices, sliced bananas, toasted almonds, powdered sugar, or orange butter.
Slice the baguette on a gentle bias into 20 slices, about 3/4 inch thick.
Beat the whole eggs, yolk, milk, vanilla, orange flower water, sugar, and salt together, and blend well. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish. Submerge the slices of bread and prick their surfaces with a fork for better absorption. If the bread is fairly dry, turn it over frequently and press the bread into the batter, massaging the batter into the bread. It is important to let the bread sit in the batter for at least 15 minutes before cooking; this ensures a custardlike interior when the bread is cooked.
Melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet or on a seasoned griddle over medium heat. Place the bread slices, in batches, into the foaming butter and turn the heat to low. Cook each piece of bread 3 to 4 minutes on each side, just until the bread is golden brown and the inside is like pudding. If the French toast cooks too long, the surface of the bread becomes tough. Add more butter to the skillet if necessary. Serve on warm plates.
Country Egg, City Egg
There isn't a more delicious little book on eggs than this treasure by former chefs at the very popular and much-acclaimed Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. Gayle Pirie and John Clark spent eight years cooking, thinking about and writing menus for eggs and it is no wonder that these are inspired creations. From the most rustic country dishes-eggs baked in braised-mashed potatoes-to smooth and sleek city dishes-caviar and scrambled eggs-here are eggs around the clock, for every meal of the day, including dessert. Here too are the best hard-cooked eggs you'll ever make, the most seductively flavored omelets, tortas and frittatas and a dish so delicious yet so simple that the eggs get cracked right into the skillet. No need to mess up a single bowl! With a few eggs in the fridge, something great to eat is just a few seconds away. When it comes to comfort, simplicity, infinite versatility, downright goodness and affordability-nothing beats eggs!