21 July 2007

Company's Coming...."Strawberry Stuffed French Toast"

Living in the valley, a tourist mecca, we get quite a bit of company over the summer months. I love to cook and show off a little when we have visitors. We usually stop long enough to have a large breakfast to keep us going and fortify us till dinner. One of my favourite dishes to prepare is stuffed French toast. You can stuff the pockets with any fruit you desire. Strawberries are at the end of their season and the pickings are getting slim. This french toast is perfect to utilize the smaller strawberries at the end of the season. They fit into the pockets better.

For once in my life when making French toast I have to against the grain and not use the freshest ingredients possible. Make sure the bread you use is not fresh....not exactly stale...but not fresh. Fresh bread soaks up too much egg batter and your toast will be soggy. The French say to use "pain perdie" which in translation means "lost bread". If your bread is too fresh, cut up and stuff the night before and leave it wrapped in the fridge overnight. Remove it first thing in the morning and leave out on your countertop as you prepare the egg mixture and the rest of your breakfast..if you have room for anything else!

You can sprinkle the end result with a little icing or confectioner's sugar or drizzle with warmed maple syrup.

This photo was taken at Grey Monk Winery in Lake Country, British Columbia.

**Strawberry Stuffed French Toast**
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Riesling ice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 (1-1/2-inch) slices of French bread, hinge cut
  • melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange, minced (I usually use 1 T Grand Marnier)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • confectioner's sugar, orange slices and fanned strawberries for garnish
1. In mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, strawberries, ice wine and salt.

2. To cut French bread: Cut off round end of bread, move serrated knife down the loaf and cut into bread just past the 3/4 of the way down mark, but not through the bread, stop just before the bottom crust. Then move the knife down another 3/4-inch and cut through the bread, thus creating "hinged" sandwich-style pockets of bread. Repeat for the desired number of pieces needed.

3. Spread about 3 T of strawberry cream into the centre of each piece of bread, do not overfill, press sandwich closed.

4. Beat the eggs and cream together with whisk. Add sugar, orange zest and cinnamon and whisk until well blended. Dip each filled piece of bread in egg mixture.

5. On a medium heated skillet, with a coat of melted butter, fry toast until golden brown on both sides. Serve with a dusting of confectioner's sugar, orange and strawberry garnish, and warm maple syrup on the side.


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