We'll Toast to That

DeLessio gives French toast a Brazilian bronzing

Sun, sand, cachaça: Brazil has many charms for the vacationer. But what infatuated chef Patrick DeLessio most on a trip there was rabanadas, the Brazilian take on French toast.

When he returned to San Francisco, he put the custardy, caramelized treats on the menu at the original Market Street location of his upscale café, DeLessio Market and Bakery. Now, rabanadas ($2.25 each, in store) are available at all three of DeLessio's local outposts.

The trick behind the toast's irresistible texture is an overnight milk bath. Come morning, the soused slices of Semifreddi's baguette are thrown into the fryer. When perfectly golden-brown, they're tossed in brown sugar, which sticks to the hot bread, melting into an addictive combination of treacly sheen and scraggy edges.

Rabanadas are said to be the progeny of a similar confection from Portugal, where they also go by the name fatias douradas (golden slices). In Brazil, rabanadas are traditionally reserved for the Christmas season.

Thankfully, here in San Francisco they're available every day.

DeLessio Market and Bakery, 1695 Market St. (at Gough St.), 415-552-5559; 302 Broderick St. (at Oak St.), 415-552-8077; 888 Brannan St. (at 8th St.) in the Gift Center; delessio.net