Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Frangipane French Toast

OK, so this morning I didn't actually cook this for breakfast because my girls made me breakfast-in-bed! But this would be a great treat for Mother's Day (or any day)! I love stuffed french toast. Usually we use cream cheese mixed with a bit of orange marmalade or chopped apricots, cranberries, or something along those lines, but I also love frangipane--that luscious rich mixture of almond meal, butter, sugar and cream (although it can be made from other nuts as well). It suited the sweet Challah bread we used for the french toast amazingly well.

  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter (please do not use margarine!)
  • 2 Tbs. half and half or cream*
Note: you can substitute 6 oz. of sweetened almond paste for the almonds and sugar if desired. You can also use this recipe, plus one egg, for a filling for tarts, sweet rolls and other BAKED goods. I have left the egg out here due to the fact that the filling does not get cooked, only warmed through; plus it would be too runny for this purpose if it had the egg.
*If you don't have or don't want to open a whole container of cream for 2 Tbs. worth, you can substitute rum, brandy, cointreau, Gran Marnier, or other liquer of choice. You could probably even use a spoonful of yogurt or apple juice if liquer for breakfast isn't your thing...

For the French Toast Batter:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Slice sweet Challah or Brioche bread into thick slices (1-inch PLUS). Slice each piece again as if making two thin slices from one thick one, but do not go all the way through the bread--leave about 1/2-inch from the bottom unsliced--you are essentially making a little pocket to fill with the frangipane (see below).

In a wide bowl, beat egg, milk and flavoring until uniform in color. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Butter or oil skillet/griddle if necessary. Dip stuffed french toast slices into egg mixture, coating both sides. Cook until browned on both sides, 3-4 minutes each (longer cooking time than regular french toast is needed so as to warm the filling). Remove to low oven to keep warm (if you can resist eating them out of hand!). Serve topped with desired fruit topping or syrup (our favorites: apple, pear, or blueberry) or simply dusted with powdered sugar.

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