French Baked Toast with Cream and Eggs (Oeufs au Plat Bressanne)
This classic French meal of baked, cream-soaked toast and eggs is deceptively simple (and scalable) but lavish. Named for the Alpine region of Bresse, which is best known to the culinary world for its exceptional chickens, the dish is practical country cooking at its finest. As it bakes, the cream soaks into the bread and thickens to a rich sauce right on the platter, resulting in a savory French toast. Our version is adapted from the great English food writer Elizabeth David’s 1955 collection of seasonal French fare, Summer Cooking. It’s a perfect breakfast or light supper, especially if you start with this fluffy homemade milk bread.
- 2 tbsp. softened unsalted butter, bacon fat, or duck fat
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Two 1/2-inch-thick slices good-quality, day-old white bread
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp. chopped chives
- Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°. Grease a 10-inch griddle or small baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter.
- Spread the remaining tablespoon of butter over both sides of each slice of bread.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the bread; cook, turning once, until the bread is toasted and browned, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and let cool slightly, then rub each slice all over with the cut side of a garlic clove.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the cream to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the toasted bread to the prepared ramekins or griddle, then pour 2 tablespoons of the hot cream over each slice. Working one at a time, gently crack an egg into a small bowl, making sure not to break the yolks. Pour two eggs over each piece of toast. Pour the rest of the hot cream over the eggs and immediately transfer to the oven.
- Bake until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your desired doneness, about 13 minutes for a runny yolk. Top with chopped chives and more freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.