125ml (½ cup) milk
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, peeled
15ml (1 tbsp) cake flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
6 French loaf/baguette slices
6 slices gypsy ham
50g Gruyère, grated
6 sprigs fresh oregano, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven, on grill setting, to 200ºC. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. For the béchamel sauce, heat the milk, bay leaf and garlic clove in a small pot over medium heat and warm until just before simmering point. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse until ready to use. Strain just before using.
3. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat, stir in the flour and cook, 2 minutes. Add the brandy and flambé. Remove from heat and add the infused milk, a little at a time, whisking continuously to ensure you have a smooth, lump-free sauce. Season, cover with cling film and set aside.
4. For the French toast, whisk together the eggs, milk and salt. Dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, and fry the dipped slices until golden and cooked through, 2 minutes on each side.
5. Remove from heat and place on the prepared baking tray. Top each slice with ham and grated cheese, season with salt and pepper and place under the grill until the cheese is crisp and has melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
6. Remove the cling film from the top of the béchamel sauce and heat up briefly. Drizzle the warm béchamel over the grilled French toast and garnish with fresh oregano.
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