Sunday, May 16, 2010

Inebriated Poor Knights of Windsor Gone Bananas

My husband was flipping through his latest food reference book, The Penguin Companion To Food, when he chanced upon the term "poor knights of Windsor". Since it involves bread and eggs, and I am the baking half in this marriage, he promptly announced to me that he would like to have some Poor Knights of Windsor for breakfast. I took a skeptical but curious glance at the entry and went "Hey, isn't this just French toast?" Turns out that it isn't just French toast.

There are various ways to make French toast (or pain perdu) and they commonly involve stale bread, a beaten egg and milk mixture, and some sugar. So, how are the poor knights of Windsor different from their French compatriots? Well, poor knights like their food boozy and they abhor egg whites. Some recipes for poor knights call for cream, some call for alcohol with milk and some call for, get this, alcohol in place of milk. Intrigued by the idea of a milk-free and boozy French toast for breakfast, I came up with my own version of poor knights, adapted from various recipes and descriptions I found online and in the said morning-changing reference book. Add some caramelised bananas to the poor knights, and voila, I mean, hey presto (since the poor knights hail from England and not France), you have a nice, lactose-free, very adult, and French-toast-like breakfast. And since my husband enjoyed this quick and easy breakfast, I declare my recipe below a keeper.

Recipe for Inebriated Poor Knights of Windsor Gone Bananas:

- 4 slices of stale bread, crust removed and sliced into triangular halves
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon of unrefined sugar (OK, refined sugar works too.)
- 70 ml of white wine (Red wine should be fine too.)
- 1 banana, cut into 1/2 inch slices.
- 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of a neutral vegetable oil (e.g., canola oil or grapeseed oil)

- 2 shallow dishes
- 2 frying pans or pots
- 1 turner

1. Pour the wine into one shallow dish.
2. Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar and pour the mixture into another shallow dish.
3. Dip a triangular slice of bread into the wine and then into the egg mixture. Repeat for all the bread slices.
4. Heat up the 2 frying pans, one on low heat and one on medium heat.
5. Place the sliced bananas into the frying pan on low heat and let the natural sugars in the bananas do their work in peace for about a few minutes before flipping the bananas to the other side. There is no need to add sugar or butter to aid the caramelisation unless you feel very decadent or just had an amazing workout and need extra calories.
6. Add the butter and vegetable oil to the frying pan on medium heat, let the mixture heat up, then start frying your inebriated poor knights. Just a couple of minutes on each side. It's ok to peek at the underside to check that Mr. Golden Brown has arrived. Really. 
7. Serve with the caramelised bananas.