- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2009

As soon as the syrup trickles onto the plate your mood shifts. Stress vanishes.

Your chores can wait. A plate of French toast topped with plump raspberries and maple syrup demands your full attention.

That’s the power of raspberry-topped French toast, a delicious example of comfort food. It’s not on the cutting edge, and that’s its charm.

No wonder you’ll see this concept on restaurant menus and in cookbooks. You may not be getting much pleasure opening your quarterly investment statements, but you can get pleasure from what you’re eating.

Even though you’ll see a variety of dishes — from meatloaf to rice pudding — labeled as comfort food, preferences are highly personal. You might find salvation in chicken potpie, while someone else unwinds with chocolate pudding.

However, comfort foods have some elements in common:

They’re easy to serve and eat. You may find it soothing to dig into a tender meatloaf, but you might not feel the same about a roast turkey you have to carve.

They’re not complicated. A dish with three sauces may be exotic and exciting. However, it’s probably not comforting because it challenges your taste buds.

Comfort foods are also open to endless variation, according to your memories.

I recommend this French toast dish for its sweet, rich flavor and custardlike texture.

Raspberry-topped French toast

Makes 2 servings.

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk (preferably whole milk)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of salt

4 teaspoons raspberry jam

4 slices firm sandwich bread

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup fresh raspberries

Maple syrup

Beat together eggs, milk, cinnamon and salt in a large shallow bowl. Set aside.

Spread 2 teaspoons raspberry jam on each of 2 bread slices. Top each slice of jam-covered bread with 1/4 cup ricotta cheese. Close with remaining bread slices.

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Briefly dip sandwiches in egg mixture to wet, but not soak. Gently arrange in skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

To serve, arrange one French toast sandwich on each of two plates. Slice diagonally, if desired. Top each serving with 1/2 cup raspberries and add maple syrup to taste.


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