Golden Bread Slices (Fatias Douradas)

One of the byproducts of living with an enthusiastic baker is having an occasional surplus of good bread that you don't want to get rid of and raises the issue of possibly having to eat a leaning tower of Pisa worth of toasts.

There are many ways of reviving dry and slightly oldish bread in the Portuguese cuisine, mind you that bread was in that country for a long time "the" main course (and frequently not so much on the side). In that light, wasting food is considered a 'sin' that can get you all the way into the trendy red-devil decorated gates. Now days is all about economy and waste, and in my case, guilt. A lot of it. Seasons everything a bit more doesn't it?

So last night I was wondering what to do with almost half a loaf of 50/50 white/wholemeal breadmaker bread that got ignored for a while and was probably feeling a bit depressed. Then I remembered this recipe: Golden Bread Slices, they usually inhabits our Christmas table for a quite brief period before vanishing (with astonishing speed) into blissful oblivion.

Fatias Douradas
(Golden Bread Slices)

Serves 5 (or less if anyone has a sweet tooth)
- 5 slices (1/2 inch each) of bread (usually white bread, but today I used 50/50 white/wholemeal and it worked, mind you that it has to be a bread with some consistency and a lot better if a bit dry/old)
- 2+1/2 cups of semi-skimmed milk
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 2 inches of lemon zest (as I did not have a lemon, I used lime)
- 2 tbs white refined sugar
- 2 tbs muscovado sugar
- 1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash of freshly grounded nutmeg
- Sunflower oil (for frying)

Add the milk, the zest, a sprinkle of cinnamon in a container and warm it a bit (not too much). Spread the bread slices in an oven tray, pour the milk on top of them and let it sit for 20/30 minutes.
Beat the eggs and pour them in a soup plate; in a bowl stir the 2 sugars, the nutmeg, the cinnamon until the result is an even light brown and fragrant mixture. Put a frying pan on the hob with enough sunflower oil and let it heat up.
With care pass each slice of bread through the beaten egg, both sides. They might get a bit wobbly, if that happens just cut them in half (it worked for me).
Fry the bread in the hot oil until golden; have a plate ready with kitchen towels to take the excess oil out our lovely golden slices and another one for the final piling up of deliciousness. When you add a slice to this last pile spread with a spoon a layer of the sugar mix on either side and sprinkle it loosely, I usually even pressure it slightly into the bread. Really, don't get stingy on sugar, just use it up.

You can have a slice right away if you want (cooks privilege), but this dish should be eaten at least a couple of hours after cooking. It keeps for some time, don't worry, I'm sure it won't go bad.
Photo by Rita

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