French toast inspired by the flavors in a sidecar cocktail
Kathleen Edwards’s album Voyageur has held up as one of my favorites this year — I was introduced to and fell in love with her music last fall, and this particular collection of songs came at just the right time. She wrote it while going through a divorce with a former bandmate and then falling in love again not long after (with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, who co-produced the record with her). I first heard Voyageur near the end of one relationship, and the songs continued to sink in as I got over that one and found myself in a new one that took off faster than I could have ever anticipated (there’s nothing wrong with that, but it definitely took me by surprise).
The song “Sidecar” is about the excitement of starting a journey with a new partner — going on adventures, learning about their favorite places, and taking on new challenges. Apologies for being a total mush, but now it’s more than half a year into this journey and I am filled with more love than I ever knew was possible. There’s a line in the song that goes, “Sit up, sit up, sit up, I went and made you/ Breakfast in bed, coffee and juice” — so I made breakfast for my “sidecar” on his birthday last Friday, inspired by the flavors in a sidecar cocktail. (I would have made him a cake, but 1) we were traveling and it would’ve been tough to transport and 2) how would I have been able to compete with this?)
The drink uses brandy (traditionally cognac), orange liquer and lemon juice, so there’s lemon in the French toast filling, orange in the batter, and brandy and more orange in the topping. (It wasn’t actually served in bed.)
P.S. Listen to Kathleen Edwards. Her first album Failer is a good place to start.
Four slices challah, or bread of your choosing (but challah > everything else)
Butter for the pan
For the topping:
2 small peaches, pitted and sliced
3-4 tablespoons brandy (to taste)
1-2 tablespoons orange juice (from the orange you zested for the batter, below)
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons raw sugar
A few shakes cinnamon
For the filling:
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
*If you want it slightly less sweet, use more cream cheese and less yogurt
For the batter:
1 tablespoon milk
1-2 teaspoons orange zest
A few shakes cinnamon
Optional: a splash of brandy
• Start the topping first. Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir frequently until peaches are soft and liquid is absorbed. Feel free to add more brandy (or anything else); I didn’t make this too boozy, but you certainly can.
• Make the filling. Combine all ingredients and mix until well combined.
• Generously spread filling onto the bread to make two sandwiches.
• Combine all batter ingredients and mix with a fork until eggs are well beaten.
• Add a pat of butter to the pan and when it starts to bubble, dip both sides of the first sandwich into the batter and add to the pan. Cook on medium heat until each side is browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Add more butter and repeat with the second sandwich.
Spoon peaches over the top and serve immediately.