18 January 2009

Apricot-Walnut French Toast and a Visit to Albas

Entering Albas on the Lot River from the south.
Growing up in Frenchtown (which felt like home to us in a way our neighborhood on the other side of town did not), we felt closest to our French roots on Sundays. Perhaps it was the crow of the neighbor's rooster at sunrise, or the chatter of old folks in French after mass, or the long family meal at midday, or the feeling of lassitude that came over us in the afternoon.

In France, I find that feeling again, in the quiet of a rural afternoon. Sundays are nearly always the time for a late breakfast, a brief nap and a drive in the country.

One sunny Sunday last September, we set out to follow the meandering River Lot as it made its lazy way west.

First we conquered Douelle with its narrow streets. We have experienced Douelle often enough to know that Sundays are quiet there and we don't have to hold our breaths or cross our fingers or pray that we do not meet any traffic from the opposite direction.

We breezed through and set out for a more open road that took us past prosperous vineyards. Here the land looked more like Wisconsin, save for the houses and barns. We wound our way through Luzech, charmed by the feel of it. The wine country is prosperous, and Luzech seemed so. We stopped along the river, and took photos at the river's edge.

It was Albas that caught my imagination, with its narrow winding streets and its welcoming view. The sight of a village clinging to a cliff above a river is not something I see in my everyday life. My husband stopped the car at a small lookout over the river so I could take the photo above.

Fortunately our hearty breakfast kept us fueled as we explored the Lot River valley to the west of Cahors that afternoon. So many twists and turns!

Apricot-Walnut French Toast is a good use for stale bread.
Apricot-Walnut French Toast

  • 6 slices apricot or cinnamon-raisin bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk
  • tablespoon brown sugar
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash cinnamon
  • pinch salt

For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
Beat eggs, cream or milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in large bowl. Soak bread until it is thoroughly moist, but not falling apart. Place in buttered skillet and brown.

While bread is turning golden brown, heat preserves in a small saucepan over a medium burner. Add butter and walnuts.

Remove bread from skillet and smother in apricot-walnut sauce. This is delicious when served with vanilla yogurt and apricot nectar.

Like any other French toast recipe, this one is a good way to use up bread that is growing stale. Since I cannot resist buying bread while in France, French toast or pain perdu is a pretty typical breakfast for us when we travel.

15 comments:

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Oh for heavens sake! That is taking ordinary french toast to a whole new level! A lazy Sunday brunch, perhaps?

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Yes, indeed, and everything about this particular Sunday was lazy, from breakfast to the wandering River Lot.

Oh, and we had French Fries for supper.

Martha said...

The French toast sounds delicious -- perhaps for my next lazy breakfast!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

We all need more lazy breakfasts...I love the photos on your blog, Martha! I will return.

Le laquet said...

Yum! To both the apricot bread and the final recipe as well ... shall I come for breakfast on Sunday?

Fiona said...

I love the photos from France and the travel talk, but it was the French Toast that REALLY took my eye here - awesome !!! Divine !!!

I would like to come for breakfast Sundays too ;)

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Le Laquet and Fiona, a cyber breakfast on line?

alice said...

This french toast sounds delicious!!!

I just discovered your blog via Country French Antiques... I can't wait to read more!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Thanks, Alice. This is really a pretty eclectic site. It was supposed to be about food and all aspects of it. I found it tiring to do a recipe a day, which so many bloggers seem able to do! So I have to hope readers will find I have something to say...

Erika said...

Oh my, oh my... I can't decide which photo is better- the mouthwatering French toast or the luscious green foliage of the French countryside.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Food porn or French countryside porn? Yes, tough choice.

Erika, I think you would like the toast!

Jeanna said...

Wonderful, I see a Sunday brunch to look forward to in my immediate future.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Jeanna, thanks for the visit. I just might re-do this one this cold, snowy weekend.

my french midlife crisis said...

Oooh Albas, I know it, such a pretty village - the stuff of fairytales really!

M.D. Johns said...

Yes, it is! Encountering a huge bus on the way in is scary, though!

Thanks for visiting. I must visit you!