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Wednesday 18 June 2014

Stuffed French Toast - sweet or savory - fruit filled sweet and bacon brie blueberries savory! Part 5

So far in this tasty Breakfast and Brunch series we've covered:
Part one:  how to poach eggs and make Hollandaise sauce to make killer Eggs Benedict!
Part two: how to make the best customized pancakes! From chocolate, banana bread, carrot cake, lemon ricotta, tasty healthy and high fibre pancakes and more!
Part 3: how to make the best customized crisp and fluffy Belgium waffles!
Part 4: how to make Oven roasted garlic and herb crispy potato wedges with bacon!

And now its time to have French Toast... but lets up the decadence level a bit and make these over the top stuffed French Toasts that are super easy to make, decadent and looks like you spent loads of time making them!  You can make dessert like stuffed French toasts with fruit or savory ones like bacon brie and blueberries.. the possibilities are endless!
While you can make this recipe with ordinary slices of stale bread (bread has to be left out overnight to dry out a bit so it soaks up the custard mixture like a sponge and doesn't just become soggy and disintegrate)... you're putting effort into making these things, go with some cinnamon raison bread or a nice brioche if you're planning to use sliced bread.  Since I was making these for a potluck brunch, I wanted more snack sized stuffed French Toast rather than slicing them into smaller pieces, so I used a baguette I bought the day before and sliced it into about 2 inch pieces, then cut a slit into each one where the stuffing will go.  Next time I'll slice the bread pieces to 1.5 inches as they turned out a wee bit too thick:

Next up, for the sweet dessert like stuffed French Toast, I creamed some softened cream cheese with a little bit of sugar, jam (I had apricot jam) and crammed it into the bread opening along with a wedge of peach.  You can use fresh, frozen or canned fruit as they're getting cooked a bit so the fruit will soften and get tasty awesome either way!

For the savory French Toasts, I sliced up about 1/2 a block of brie for stuffing 1 baugette's worth of bread pieces then stuffed the bread with a small slice of crisp bacon, soft slice of brie and a few wild blueberries - the slightly sticky brie in the center helps keep the bacon and blueberries from falling out:

I had lined my counter with tin foil so I could use it like a large prep platter... I beat the custard mixture together in a large bowl, then pastry brushed the little toasties on both sides.  While a bit more time consuming than just dunking the little stuffed bread pieces into the custard mixture, it ensured I distributed the custard mixture evenly, rather than having a few super soggy drenched pieces and having to make more custard mixture to coat the remaining naked toasties!  After cooking on a nonstick pan with a bit of butter and oil (I used my Misto oil sprayer to mist them and not drown them in oil) on both sides and adding a bit of icing sugar to the sweet toasties...

Hubba Hubba.
Resistance is futile.

Stuffed French Toast Recipe makes about 10-12 snack servings or 5-6 full servings
1 day old baguette sliced as above

Custard Mixture
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoons oil

Sweet Stuffed French Toast
1/4 cup cream cheese softened
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons jam (strawberry, blueberry, apricot, peach...whatever you like)
1/2 cup fresh or canned fruit (I used canned peaches, but go nuts with berries, stone fruits...)
You can add in if you like:
-3 Tablespoons of nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts)
-Sieved icing sugar

Savory Stuffed French Toast
4 slices of crisp bacon cut into 3 pieces for a total of 12 pieces
12 slices of cheese: brie, cheddar, gouda, mozzarella... whatever you like!
1/4 cup of fresh or frozen or canned fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries...

How to
1) Slice off and discard the ends of the baguette (you can munch on it while you make the recipe)
2) Slice up baguette into 10-12 pieces and then slice a slit into the middle of the pieces so you have a place to stuff the pieces with filling.  Try not to slice the small pieces of bread completely in half when you cut the slit - you want it in one piece so it'll make it easy to stay together when you cook it
3) If making the:
Sweet stuffed French Toast - In a medium bowl, cream the cream cheese, sugar and jam together until smooth (if its a few lumps, don't worry about it). Add in optional ingredients if you like.  Fill the bread pieces with about 1 heaping teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture each and then cram in fruit.
Savory Stuffed French Toast - Stuff the savory ingredients into the bread slits

4) In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk/cream, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg well.  Dunk or pastry brush on the custard mixture onto both sides of the stuffed bread pieces.  Mix the belted butter and oil in a small bowl
5) You'll be cooking the French Toast in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of your non-stick frying pan.  On med-low heat, add in  the butter/oil mixture to a large non-stick frying pan (1 Tbsp if 3 batches, 1.5 Tbsp if 2 batches).  Cook the stuffed bread pieces for 2-3 min/side or until golden brown.
6) Sieve icing sugar over the French Toast if you like and dig in!

Sweet Stuffed French Toast Ideas
-Peanut butter and jelly: use peanut butter instead of cream cheese and jelly instead of jam
-Nutella and fruit: use Nutella instead of cream cheese and your fav fruit
-Strawberry shortcake: strawberries and stawberry jam
-Apple pie: gently sauteed 2 diced apples with 1 teaspoon butter, pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar together - use in place of fruit and jam

Savory and Sweet Stuffed French Toast Ideas
-bacon, sausage crumbles, ham, roast chicken/turkey, Montreal smoked meat, pulled pork
-caramelized onions, garlic sauteed spinach, caramelized apples
-cheese: brie, cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, feta...
-Add any type of berries, stone fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, pears...

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