Let's get down to business. The business of toast, obviously.
Apparently toast is a trendy thing to eat (see: $9 slices of toast in San Francisco cafes, entire New York Times articles discussing toast, multiple single subject cookbooks on toast!), which leads me to wonder: Why the sudden resurgence. Are we rediscovering it? Does that mean people en masse stopped eating it? Did everyone else get a memo sometime in 1992 to stop eating it, and then again in 2014 to start again?
I never stopped. Toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar remains one of the simplest and greatest pleasures. I will also accept toast with butter and salt. Sidebar: Toast with other toppings (chicken salad, savory spreads, avocado, so on) is lovely but frankly, seems more like an open-faced sandwich. But that is just semantics! My love for toast is undiminished by such frustratingly nonspecific word usage. And so, it is with great relief that I have found out about bostock: a French pastry that glorifies toast, unabashedly turning it into a dessert.
Bostock is simply day-old brioche that is soaked in a sweet syrup, topped with an almond cream, and then toasted. Nutty, creamy, crunchy, and sweet: There's very little not to like here.
You can use any sort of rich, soft bread. Challah or brioche are best, but in a pinch, you could use a soft potato bread or panettone.
Play around with flavors! The syrup soaking step is important to moisten the stale bread. A basic simple syrup works, but something fancier like citrus simple syrup would be good also.
This recipe is loosely adapted from the beautiful new Toast cookbook by my friend Raquel Pelzel, a wonder woman who should get an award for giving toast the proper appreciation it deserves (i.e.: an entire book).
Adapted from Toast
4 slices of day-old brioche or challah bread
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sliced almonds
powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a blender or food processor, process the almond meal, egg, softened butter, almond extract, and 1/4 cup of sugar together until smooth and creamy.
In a small saucepan, heat the water and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Place your bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush the tops generously with the sugar syrup.
Spread a hefty dollop of the almond cream on each slice and even it out to the edges.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top and bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes but keep your eye on it).
Remove the toasts from the oven, let cool slightly, and dust with powdered sugar.