Recently I came across a very old book with interesting recipes, A QUEENS DELIGHT or The Art of Preserving, Conserving, and Candying; As also A right Knowledge of making Perfumes, and Distilling the most Excellent Waters. This book was printed in 1663 and was “never published before.”
Along with the usual medical and surgical “recipes”, it specializes in perfumes and distilled waters for cosmetic use.
One chapter is headed “Choice Secrets Made Known,” and one daring recipe is entitled quite simply and directly “How to Make Hair Grow.”
Another one sounds like a witch’s brew: “A Water for Consumption or for a Brain That Is Weak.” This one is made with milk, wine, flowers, herbs and seeds, licorice, a cock that has been chased and beaten before he was killed, and white sugar candy.
Then there is “Water of Time for the Passion of the Heart.” Another intriguing one is “A Receipt to Make Damnable Hum!”
Searching for the book I found an original recipe dated 1663 – To Make Toasts or Poor Knights.
“Cut two penny Loaves in round slices, and dip them in half a pint of Cream or cold water, then lay them abroad in a Dish, and beat three Eggs and grated Nutmegs, and Sugar, beat them with the Cream, then take your frying pan and melt some butter in it, and wet one side of your Toasts and lay them in on the wet side, then pour in the rest upon them, and so fry them; send them in with Rose-water, butter and sugar.”
This is a Modern Version for Challah French Toast with Bruléed Bananas, Nutella and Whipped Cream or Poor Knights.
- 4 thick slices of challah bread
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- For serving:
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced thickly
- 1 Tbsp. sugar for brûlée bananas
- confection's sugar for serving
- whipped cream for serving
- Nutella for serving
Beat the eggs, add the other ingredients, except bread, mix well and strain into a shallow dish. Dip slices of bread in the mixture, turning to coat both sides. Cook on a hot buttered frying pan until golden brown on both sides. Turn carefully with a pancake turner.
Sprinkle the banana slices, with a little white sugar then blowtorch until golden and bruléed.
To assemble, spread Nutella thickly on one side of the toast then layer the bananas on top. Spoon a little-whipped cream over the top then sandwich with the other toast slice. Dust with confection's sugar and serve with berries. Repeat with other toasts.