Few foods are as simple as French toast. It's just custard-soaked bread, seared in a skillet. However, custard is one of those magical, transformative techniques that opens a world of possibilities to you: for instance, if you layer French toast in a baking dish and bake it - voilà! Bread pudding! Omit the sugar and add savory ingredients - voilà! Strata! Omit the bread, bake in a bain-marie, top with sugar and broil - voilà! Crème brûlée! The best hands-on understanding of this delicate web of proteins and liquid comes from making French toast - so Sparky and I set to work.
glug of vanilla extract (sometimes I add a bit of sugar, this time we didn't. I would guess we used about 1/3 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of milk, and maybe a teaspoon of vanilla)
We dusted our treasure carefully with some confectioner's sugar and served it with syrup. Sparky preferred the texture of the whole-wheat sandwich bread: the custard crisped up the outside, but left the middle of the bread gooey and squishy. I like the Italian bread: the custard soaked into all the little nooks and crannies, but the chewy texture of the bread remained.