Thursday, February 6, 2020

Wentelteefjes and a Book Review

I was inspired to make this Dutch Style French Toast after reading the novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This wonderful, comforting breakfast was spoken of in the last section of this novel when our protagonist returned to her mother's homeland in Denmark.

This Dutch French Toast is soaked in a flavored custard for half an hour before being pan fried in a generous amount of butter and sprinkled with with a powdered sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Image result for The Signature of All Things

My daughter, Jessica, gave me this book for Christmas.  I had previously read Eat Pray Love by this author.  The two novels are set in completely different eras and completely different areas of the world but they both share the life of a strong, smart, curious woman.  The both contain soul searching and mysticism.  They both deal with relationships, not only with others, but your relationship with yourself.

The novel starts in England, following the life of Henry Whittaker, the child of a poor man who does whatever he needs to do to be poor no longer.  Henry chooses his wife, Beatrice, while in Denmark again looking at this more as a business proposition than a marriage bound by love.  This is fine with Beatrice and together they make a good life for themselves and for their natural born daughter, Alma, around whom this novel centers.

It takes place during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Alma's life is surrounded by interesting people and theories and we get to be in the middle of it all.  There are scientists, botanists, artists, authors, abolitionists and missionaries.  All of whom touch Alma's life in some way.

I thought, for a good portion of the novel, that I was just going to do a book review without a recipe.  There was, of course, mention of food.  Oysters, pheasants, cornbread, molasses, roasted pork, bread fruit, to name a few but none of it was inspiring me to go into the kitchen.

Then, when Alma is in her 60's she ends up in her mother's birthplace, Denmark.  She shows up at her uncle's doorstep and introduces herself.  The Dane's in this novel are very taciturn and abrupt.  Her uncle met her with suspicion and wariness.  This made Alma's heart soar as he was so like her mother.  

During this initial interview her uncle is eating Wentelteefjes while speaking with her.  Alma has not enjoyed this dish since her mother's passing many, many years ago.  

I immediately searched "Wentelteefjes" and learned that it is a Dutch style French Toast using stale white bread that is soaked in a custard flavored with lemon zest, vanilla and powdered sugar.

Once all of the custard is completely absorbed, the bread is fried up in a generous amount of butter and then sprinkled with additional powdered sugar to which a hefty amount of cinnamon has been added.


I didn't have any stale bread so I toasted the slices lightly before soaking.  We enjoyed this for breakfast yesterday morning and Frank and the Teen were very happy with the inspiration from this novel.

I will be sharing this review and recipe over at Foodies Read.  Stop by and see what the other Foodies are reading and share with us what you have on your nightstand right now.

#breakfast, #international, #Dutch,
Breakfast, Meatless,
Yield: 3 servings

Wentelteefjes (Dutch Style French Toast)

Wentelteefjes (Dutch Style French Toast)

This Dutch French Toast is soaked in a flavored custard for half an hour before being pan fried in a generous amount of butter and sprinkled with with a powdered sugar/cinnamon mixture.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 45 M


  • 8 slices day old white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon


How to cook Wentelteefjes (Dutch Style French Toast)

  1. Warm the milk by heating on high in the microwave for 30 seconds.  I did this in a 2 cup, glass, measuring cup.
  2. Whisk the eggs, lemon zest, 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar and vanilla into the milk.  
  3. Place the bread into a 9x13 baking pan and pour the milk mixture over the top. Let set for 30 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed into the bread.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over med high heat.  Using a large spatula,  carefully move the bread slices from the baking pan to the skillet.  It will be very soggy and prone to tearing.  Let fry on both sides until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  5. Place onto a platter.  Combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Sift over the hot slices.


From a recipe by Daydream found on
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Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Reading your thoughts on this book, I recognised it but couldn't remember actually reading it. It's already on my Goodreads TBR and needs to be bumped up the list I think :-)

  2. French toast is the greatest!

    best... mae at

  3. This version of "French Toast" sounds over the top yummy, maybe we should just call it Dutch Toast. I liked Gilbert's first book, so will give this one a try.


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