I’ve been cutting back a little on my blog posts the last week. It’s overwhelming trying to create new recipes, cook them to perfection and attempt to photograph them like a pro without the proper lighting and food props. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes, I just want to eat. But then I make something like this. Thrown together quickly on a weekday morning, bleary-eyed from waking up 4 times with the baby, it’s too good not to share. It helps to have good ingredients in the house, and the stars in this French toast recipe are sweet and simple. Challah bread, burrata cheese and ripe peaches.
If you haven’t tried burrata, please do so right as soon as possible. Burrata looks like a ball of fresh mozzarella on the outside, but cut it open and you will see the difference. Inside is a oozing mixture of soft mozzarella and cream. It’s deliciously light, sweet and buttery all at the same time.
I’ve been seeing it on Italian restaurant (the trendy ones, not the cheese-smothered-pasta ones) menus in Miami for a little while now. Boy was I excited when I spotted it next to the tubs of fresh mozzarella at my local Publix supermarket. This stuff is an experience. Usually it’s prepared in a savory salad, similar to a caprese. I was about to mix up a sweet mascarpone cream to layer on my French toast when a light bulb went on. Why not try the burrata?
The result? Amazing. You just have to try it and see for yourself.
This recipe is great for serving a large group because it all goes into the oven in the end. By the time the table is set, you pull out a pan filled with hot, puffed pieces of French toast. It’s quite impressive, sophisticated. Not too sweet, and incredibly delicious.
Yield: 4 servings
Whisk together cream, whole milk, eggs, vanilla extract, salt and nutmeg and pour into a wide, shallow bowl. Place bread in the custard mixture in batches, leaving them to soak on each side 30 seconds. Remove bread from the custard and set aside.
Heat butter in pan on medium heat until it bubbles. Add the bread to the pan in batches, and cook until lightly browned on each side, 2-3 minutes. When all the pieces are finished, place them on a cookie sheet. Place in the oven and cook until puffed, about 8 minutes.
Cut each ball of buratta in half. Place ½ of a buratta on top of a piece of French toast. Cover with a second piece of French toast. Serve sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup and sliced peaches.
Strawberries are not my favorite fruit, but they are the only reliable organic fruit that I can find on a weekly basis at my grocery store. I started roasting strawberries to incorporate into my little one’s baby food purees. They were so good; I became a little obsessed with them. Roasting makes them softer and increases the flavor. The liquid releases from the fruit, creating an all-natural, bright red syrup and the fruit develops an intense “strawberry” flavor. Many more roasted strawberry recipes are in the works, like this delicious brioche French toast with tarragon cream.
I make French toast nearly every time I buy a loaf of French bread or brioche (which isn’t often enough). Here in Miami, I have to drive a bit to get good bread, so it’s a special occasion. We hardly ever get through the bread in the first day, so the rest gets turned into a delicious breakfast. I wouldn’t bother making French toast without really good, thick bread. That’s what makes it so special!
I’ve made a few versions of this dish over the years, mostly using whatever I have on hand at the time. Try macerating the berries and using fresh whipped cream to make strawberry shortcake French toast. Sandwiching two pieces of French toast with sweetened mascarpone or ricotta cheese gives you a cheese Danish flavor. I used tarragon in this recipe, but some substitutes could be chopped mint, basil or even freshly ground black pepper. There are many ways you could make the cream, too. For my version, I used ½ Greek yogurt and ½ mascarpone cheese, thinned with milk. You can use all yogurt for a healthier version, or all whipped cream for a more decadent breakfast. Use whatever goodies you have available at the time and your creativity to create your ultimate French toast.
Yield: Serves 3
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arrange the strawberries in a single layer in a roasting pan. Roast about 10 minutes, until the juice releases from the strawberries and thickens.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk together whole milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt and nutmeg and pour into a wide, shallow bowl. Place bread in the custard mixture in batches, leaving them to soak on each side 30 seconds. Remove bread from the custard and set aside.
Heat butter in pan on medium heat until it bubbles. Add the bread to the pan in batches, and cook until lightly browned on each side, 2-3 minutes. When all the pieces are finished, place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place in the oven and cook until puffed, about 5-8 minutes. Serve with maple syrup, topped with confectioners sugar, strawberries and cream (recipe below)
Mix yogurt, mascarpone cheese, tarragon and sugar. Add milk and mix until you see the desired consistency.