Saturday, May 01, 2004

Saturday's Breakfast- Stuffed French Toast

I know I haven't spent to much time lately on my culinary obsessions. I guess other obsessions have taken their place. This is a nice brunch treat and it amply feeds 4-6 hungry people. If you must you can substitute the half and half with low-fat milk and use skim ricotta cheese

7 eggs
2 c. of half & half
12 slices of challah bread
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp vanilla*
1/2 c. pecans toasted and chopped

1 lb. ricotta cheese drained of any excess liquid
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 c. dried cherries chopped
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1/2 c. orange juice

Serve with real maple syrup

In a small non-stick pot simmer (low-heat) the raisins and cherries in the orange juice with the cinnamon stick. Watch closely to make sure that you don't get a sticky mess. You want to allow the dried fruit to soak up a good amount of the juice, so leave on the heat for about 20 minutes. Drain the juice and set these aside to cool. Reserve a two spoon fulls of the fruit to mix with the remaining nuts for a topping. When they've cooled add them to the ricotta cheese with 1/4 of the pecans and 1 tsp. of the vanilla. Combine well and refrigerate.

Beat the eggs well, add the milk and sugar and remaining vanilla. Pour into a rimmed plate and sprinkle ground cinnamon lightly on the surface of the liquid. Heat up a non-stick skillet and grease lightly with unsalted butter. Place your slices of bread on the plate two at a time. Allow the slices to soak up a generous amount of the liquid, but not too much. Turn over and make sure that they are soaked and coated evenly on both sides. Cook the slices on the skillet over medium heat until they are cooked on both sides. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Cut each slice in half and spread a generous amount of the cheese/fruit/nut filling. Place the other half on top to make a sandwich. Serve two sandwiches per guest with some nuts and re-constituted fruit on top. Make sure to put plenty of warm maple syrup on the table for your guests to enjoy. This dish tastes great with homemade turkey sausage patties and sliced apples.

*Use the best quality vanilla. Tahitian vanilla works well.

Some other tasty options for the dried fruit/cheese stuffing
*candied ginger bits
*candied orange
*dried mango or papaya
*bakers coconut
*macadamia nuts


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