The Breakfast Club,
Poor Knights of Windsor,
or French Toast?
I am breakfasting like a poor Knight today, but with a regal history though; my entry for The Breakfast Club this month is Poor Knights of Windsor served with home-made raspberry jam, a decadent little breakfast treat and something that certainly does not feature on my diet sheet…….but a little of what you fancy now and then does you good ~ or so I have been told. The breakfast theme for September is Conserves, and considering I have been up to my ears with preserving over the last few weeks, I think I am very brave to enter something fruity with a high sugar content!
I am also entering this recipe as a nod the start of British Food Fortnight and as a reminder that many so called “foreign” recipes actually belong to us here on the British Isles…….hence my rhetorical question in the title. Poor Knights of Windsor are crisply fried toasts that have been soaked in boozy milk and then dipped in eggs (yolks) before being fried in butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and doused in caster sugar BEFORE being served with jam, so pretty lo~cal then! But I adore these fluffy crisply fried toasts and I always feel so connected to past when I am eating them. They are similar the French version of Pain Perdu and the North American versions of French Toast insofar as they are slices of fried soaked bread, but the similarity stops there ~ as Poor Knights of Windsor have booze in them and are soaked first and then dipped in the egg separately.
These unusually named sweet fried toasts have an interesting history; this dish originated during the middle ages in England and spread all over the world with many variations. Traditionalists use stale bread, but stale cake is a good substitute and I like to use Brioche. Red wine can be used instead of white, and you can add milk, as I have done here, you then have a more recognizable dish called, incorrectly, French toast. The Poor Knights of Windsor, incidentally, was a military order formed by King Edward III in the 14th Century. They are retired military men who accompany the Knights and Ladies of the Garter at their services and ceremonies, the red uniforms of the Military Knights adding colour and tone to proceedings, although why these boozy eggy breads are named after them is unclear.
But back to the 21st Century and today, as this is my entry for the Breakfast Club the conserve element is the dollop of jam on these fried eggy breads, which I hope counts…….I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I really enjoyed a round of these this morning, with my home-made raspberry jam and the flavour of the wine and sherry really enhances the dish and makes it all very grown up ~ this recipe is sometimes called Poor Knights Pudding and I think it would make a great end to a very British meal! DO try these, the fact that the egg is added after soaking makes a crispy covering that keeps the bread inside all fluffy and almost soufflé like ~ it’s all very historical and genteel.
Time to go now, the recipe and link to a printable recipe follows, have a great start to the new week and see you soon.
Poor Knights of Windsor ~ Boozy Toast
4 slices day-old white bread, or brioche
2 tablespoons caster sugar
150 ml milk
1 tablespoon sweet sherry
1 tablespoon white wine
4 egg yolks, beaten
75 g butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons strawberry jam or 4 teaspoons raspberry jam
Remove the crusts from the bread and cut each slice in half – into 2 thin fingers of bread.
Place 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the milk, white wine and sherry in a shallow dish and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Place the egg yolks in a shallow dish and beat well then dip the slices of bread in the milk mixture and then into the egg yolks.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the bread until golden brown on both sides. Drain well and keep hot while the remaining pieces are fried.
To serve – sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and serve hot with strawberry or raspberry jam.
Looks delicious whatever you call it Karen! xxoo
Working london mummy says
what a lovely idea. I do love Pain Perdu. the conserve you made looks so delicious. What a colour! x
Oh dear me, the calories, the cholesterol !!! But I still want some 🙂
Fabulicious Food says
Great post Karen. A very informative and unique recipe. I'm excited about British Food Fortnight. I think I would gain ten pounds instantly eating these! Love the lo-cal comment! They do look very, very scrummy.
That looks gorgeous! I have always had a soft spot for pain perdu. I love the smell of it when cooking in tons of butter……Heaven!
La Table De Nana says
It does look like a bfreakfast feast treat..Wow..
On to my yogurt ,chia and flax seeds~
Aimée @ Food: Je t'Aimée says
What's not to love about the words "booze" and "breakfast" in one dish?! 😉 These look so sinful. I may have to look into this Breakfast Club event… breakfast is easily my favourite meal of the day, any time of day!
Kentish Keg-Meg says
Will be trying this recipe sooooon. Great name and love the history part about it.
Karen S Booth says
Marie ~ thanks!
working london mummy ~ made the jam with home grown rasps!
Annie ~I KNOW!
Ren ~ thanks, naughty but nice as a treat.
Laura ~ thanks, I used a scant amount of butter this time!
Monique ~ awww! Thanks!
Aimee ~thanks, do join in ~ click on the live links!
Meg ~ it is a wonderful old recipe, thanks!
My Dad calls these 'gypsy toast'!
Karen S Booth says
Hi Emmy! I LOVE that name, Gypsy Toast! Thanks for telling me, I will add that name to my notes!
Very tasty indeed. But French Toast in our house was always served as a savoury with loads of pepper and sometimes bacon as well. It wasn't till I au paired in Belgium that I found that people put sugar on their French toast – what a shock! I still prefer it as a savoury but have to admit that your version with the booze is appealing!
Karen S Booth says
Thanks Janice ~ actually, I am with you in this one as I don't have an overly sweet tooth but LOVE savoury dishes, and the thought of this toast with pepper and onions is FAB! I may try that….this does has an edge with the wine and sherry mind you!
When.I was a child.on the 1970s my mum used to make a pudding called Brave Knights which was bread soaked in sour cream, dipped in egg, fried and served with fried bananas and jam..
Karen Burns-Booth says
Hi there! Yes, that is also another name for these tasty bread treats! Karen