The Portuguese adaptation of the French Toast, Rabanadas are mainly found in Portuguese homes as a Christmas dessert but are delicious any time of the year. This variation is distinctive by combining flavours like cinnamon and lemon with the sweetness of a Port wine syrup.
The origin of the famous French toast is uncertain but variations of the recipe are widespread all around Europe with its earliest known reference being found in the Apicius: a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century which mentions the recipe but without the use of eggs.
The Ingredients (25 slices approx.)
- An old baguette (at least 2 days old)
- 350g caster sugar
- 6 fresh free range eggs, whipped
- ½ litre milk
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 1tbsp ground cinnamon
- 750ml water
- 1 shot Porto wine
- 650ml vegetable oil
- 100g of walnuts
- Drop 150g of sugar into a medium size pan, add 250ml of water, the shot of port wine, 1/3 lemon skin and a small cinnamon stick. Stir well and turn on the heating to bring to a boil;
- Let it boil on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. The syrup should be ready when it starts producing a lot of bubbles;
- At this point, turn off the heating and put it aside to cool down.
- Start by cutting the baguette into slices (not too thin);
- Drop 125g of sugar into a medium size pan, add the milk, 2/3 of the lemon skin and a cinnamon stick. Finally, add ½ litre of water, stir well and turn up the heat to bring to a boil;
- When it starts boiling turn down the heat to the lowest and give it a stir. We are now ready to start frying the Rabanadas:
- Dunk each bread slice in the milk and straight after in the whipped eggs;
- Then deep fry in vegetable oil making sure you fry on both sides. Just fry them enough to give them a crispy golden look. Repeat the same process for all the bread slices (I usually fry 3 or 4 slices at the same time but this depends on the size of the pan you’ll be using);
- After frying all the bread slices drop the remaining sugar (75g) and cinnamon (10g) into a wide bowl or small plate and mix them both well. Then coat each slice of fried bread in the sugar and cinnamon mix;
- E pronto! It’s done! Serve the Rabanadas with crushed walnuts and topped with the Port wine syrup.