Sunlight streams through our east-facing window. The electric blanket has kept our bed toasty warm, too toasty for my fuzzy socked-feet sticking out from underneath our quilt. Brian still sleeps quietly beside me, the dogs have nestled themselves into any nook or cranny on the bed they can find. My eyes open, I stretch, and immediately start thinking about breakfast.
I've talked about my love for Sundays in the past - the one day of the week that we actually sleep in, make multiple pots of coffee to sip while laying around in our pajamas, read chapters upon chapters in our current books, experiment with some new and indulgent breakfast recipes in the kitchen. I haven't shared any of these special morning meals lately because, well, basically every Sunday in December involved the panettone french toast that I already shared with you here. We love that dish in our house, and get our fill while panettone is readily available.
I count last Sunday as the first real Sunday of our new year. The weekend before, the actual first Sunday, we had just said goodbye to house guests and, while we certainly laid around lazily for much of the day, there was no elaborate cooking happening in our kitchen. It, and I, was just too tired. But this past Sunday, after my self-imposed cooking hiatus, I woke up dreaming of stuffed French toast.
Cranberry and cream cheese-stuffed French toast, to be exact. We happened to have a jar of Cranberry Chutney with Crystallized Ginger and Dried Cherries from Molly Wizenburg's book, A Homemade Life, in our fridge, leftover from holiday appetizer trays. I adore this chutney, completely and totally. I've found all manner of ways to use the three pints the recipe made, from spreading it across chevre-coated table water crackers to pairing it with thick-sliced ham, triple-cream cheese and arugula between two slices of crusty bread for the ultimate holiday leftovers sandwich. This chutney has been good to us these last 4 weeks, and I am incredibly disappointed that I didn't think to make extra batches of the spread to preserve for the cranberry-free months ahead.
As a final hurrah (the very last jar is getting heart-breakingly low...) I decided the chutney deserved a role in the first official Sunday Morning breakfast of 2010. Paired with softened cream cheese, spread in the middle of a thick slice of bread from a French or Italian loaf that is then soaked in a simple custard before being pan-fried in butter and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar...its not a bad way to end a good run.
We enjoyed the meal immensely, and plan to add the Stuffed French Toast to our regular rotation for Sundays, substituting whatever jam we've made from the fresh fruit of the season we are in. I hope you'll try it this weekend, and if you can still find fresh cranberries in your grocery store you should make this chutney as well. You don't want to wait another ten months to try it.
Stuffed French Toast
- 2 slices French or Italian bread, 1-inch thick (you may want more slices depending on the size of your baguette)
- 4 tbsp fruit preserves (or Molly's cranberry chutney)
- 2 tbsp soft cream cheese or marscapone
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- confectioner's sugar
- pure maple syrup
- Lay slices of bread flat on cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife, slice bread horizontally through middle, stopping short of cutting all the way through, to create an envelope of sorts.
- Spread 1 tbsp of cream cheese and 2 tbsp preserves in each envelope.
- In a shallow dish that will hold both stuffed slices, whisk together eggs and milk. Lay stuffed slices in custard mixture, turning after 2 minutes, for a total of 4-5 minutes.
- Melt butter in a large, non-stick skillet over moderate heat. When butter is fully melted, add stuffed slices to skillet. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, until deep brown and no egg runs when you press down on the slices.
- Serve with confectioner's sugar and pure maple syrup.