Fans of ‘Servant’ will know that since its beginning, when not delivering suspenseful plot twists or making us laugh in the darkest ways imaginable, that it serves up some of the best food scenes in television history. From Sean and Julian scheming and hatching plans over their favourite bottles of wine to Cheesus Crust Pizza, the food in ‘Servant’ has played a key part in some of its most memorable scenes and in helping to create the rich and immersive world that we love so much.
In the most recent episode 'Tiger,' the Turner family attend a block party on the street during which Sean cooks up a sweet feast for the neighbourhood. We’ve quite frankly, been obsessed with all of the food that’s featured on the show and thought that we’d celebrate that with our own take on Sean’s french toast recipe.
Sean treats the residents to ‘ice cream with French toast and dehydrated maple and pancetta’, but we thought we’d whip up a slightly more simplified version inspired by his recipe for everyone to enjoy and help celebrate this wonderful show in a new way.
This is a relitavely straight forward recipe that should be perfect for an indulgent Sunday morning breakfast. In the episode, Sean makes his own ice cream from scratch but for ease, we're skipping that part and instead you should pick up your favourite brand of vanilla ice cream to use here. If you think that ice cream couldn't possibly work with pancetta, we'd encourage you to give it a try. The salty and smokey notes of the meat cut through the sweetness of the dish and the result is a great balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Brushing the pancetta with the syrup adds a fantastic texture and a bit of extra crunch that works so well here too. We'd recommend serving with a fresh pot of coffee, tea or whatever your breakfast beverage of choice may be.
3 egg yolks (discard the egg whites or save them for another recipe)
1.5 cups double cream/heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sweet cinnamon
12 slices smoked pancetta
Vanilla ice cream
A pinch of nutmeg
Icing sugar/powdered sugar
Fruit of your choice to serve. We opted for raspberries and strawberries to match Sean's recipe but feel free to change this.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Chop and wash your fruit, if required and set this aside now to save you time at the end.
3. Slice the brioche. One loaf should make 6 fairly thick slices. Thicker is better for this recipe as the bread is less likely to fall apart after being dipped in the mixture. Slightly stale bread works even better for french toast, so feel free to open the bread and leave it sitting out for an hour or two before hand if you like, but this isn't necessary.
4. Make the egg mixture. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl and add the cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Mix well, pour into a shallow enough dish for dipping the bread into and set aside.
5. Brush each slice of pancetta with some maple syrup on one side (not too much, it shouldn’t be drowning) and lay flat on the lined baking tray. Put in the oven for 5 minutes and just keep an eye on it as it can start to brown quickly. After the 5 minutes, flip each slice, brush again with a little maple syrup on the other side and put back in the oven for a few minutes until crisp. Please continue to keep a close eye on this as it cooks - you want it crispy, not burned.
6. Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add a large knob of butter and some vegetable oil. Once hot and sizzling, dip a slice of bread in the mix and coat it on both sides. For this recipe, we cooked two slices at a time in the frying pan. Once you add the bread to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden and where no raw mixture remains. Continue to flip each slice if a little more cooking time is required. Add more butter and oil to the pan if needed.
7. Once the pancetta is ready and the bread is cooked, it’s time to plate up. Lay two slices of bread on each plate and get creative with the presentation. We layered one slice with the sweet, crispy pancetta and then topped with the fruit. After the fruit, drizzle over some additional maple syrup and then sift a little of the powdered sugar on top. To finish off, serve with a scoop of the ice cream.
If you'd like to try our recipe, we'd love to see your results. Please share them with us on Twitter @screentimesnet.
Servant is serving its third course on Apple TV+ with new episodes premiering Fridays.
James has been a fan of Apple for as long as he can remember. He is a film & TV obsessive and has also written for several publications such as BBC Good Food Magazine. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland and can usually be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, watching Apple TV+ and talking about it with anyone who will listen.