This is a doubly gratifying recipe for the waste-averse: the French toast (a slightly fancier take on the eggy-bread of my childhood) is made with the remains of a loaf otherwise too stale to eat and the cranberry-sharp, cinnamon-scented compôte uses up plums that were bought more in the spirit of optimism than good sense. If you’re lucky enough to have a plum tree, this would gratifyingly use up a glut.
Put the cranberry juice and sugar into a wide, heavy-based saucepan and stir to help start dissolving the sugar. Then put the saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves entirely.
Halve the plums and remove the stones, then halve them again if they are big brutes.
Once the sugar’s dissolved into the red liquid, add the cinnamon stick, then turn the heat up, bring the mixture to the boil and let the pan bubble away for a couple of minutes until the mixture is on the way to becoming syrupy.
Turn the syrup down to a simmer and add the plum halves (or quarters). Cook them gently for about 10 minutes, although note that this is based on starting off with viciously unripe fruits, so you might need less time.
Once the plums are tender but not disintegrating, remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside, keeping warm.
For the French toast, whisk together the eggs, milk, ground cinnamon and sugar in a pie dish.
Sit two pieces of bread in the eggy mixture, turning after each side has soaked up enough of the mixture to colour the bread yellow, so that it absorbs the liquid but doesn’t fall to pieces.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the soaked pieces of bread for a couple of minutes on each side, or until scorched golden in parts. Transfer the French toast to a warm plate and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining slices of bread, eggy mixture and butter.
Serve the French toast with the beautiful scarlet plum compôte alongside.
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