I grew up having French Toast quite often on weekends. I have many fond memories of me waiting impatiently at the table for Mom to serve me my favorite breakfast. But as an adult, French Toast seems to have taken a back seat to omelets or other egg based dishes. MIght be because I never learned to make French Toast like my moms (never owned a griddle and the frying pan just doesn't seem to work as well) or, quite possibly, it's because French Toast tends to be seen as less "healthy" with all that butter and sugar. Me thinks though, after making this Lemon Cream Cheese French Toast, that I'm doing myself a disservice by not making it every now and then.
Both Mr. L and I really enjoyed this version of what I consider stuffed french toast. It does take a bit of effort to put together (you have to make the sauce and filling and then the toast), and I might need a few more cups of coffee before attempting again on a Sunday morning, but it was definitely a nice change of pace from our standard, pretty plain, weekend breakfasts. I loved the tang of everything from the lemons to the orange juice mixed with the sweetness of the sugar and strawberries. This dish is pretty rich so don't even think about putting some whipped cream on top (I just took one look at my hips and decided against it).
Since there were only two of us, I had plenty of bread, filling and sauce left over. I went ahead and battered and cooked up the remain bread and put it in the fridge. I heated that up with some filling in the microwave for breakfast the next day. Not the best the day after, but still better than a bowl of cereal.
My cousin in Northern California sent me this recipe. She was lamenting that she didn't have any Meyer lemons to make this with and I was looking for a way to use up the last of the Meyer lemons that came from my Aunts tree.
LEMON CREAM CHEESE FRENCH TOAST
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1 loaf french bread
2 1/2 cups half and half
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
Warm Orange Sauce:
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup fresh quartered strawberries
In a small bowl stir together the cream cheese, lemon juice, zest and sugar. Blend the egg, half and half, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg in a large flat bottom bowl. Set aside. Using 2 slices of french bread, spread about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling on one side. Place the other slice on top and lightly press together. Dip the sandwich into the batter, turn one and place on a lightly oiled griddle that has been pre-heated on medium heat. Cook until lightly browned on each side, about 3 minutes. Serve warm with the orange sauce. Put orange juice and sugar in saucepan and heat till sugar dissolves, add strawberries until just warmed and spoon over french toast.
Note: I used Brioche bread. Found it at Lunardis. It was delicate and tended to fall apart every now and then so it didn't make for the best photos, but I really liked the taste of it with this recipe.
Note: I used Meyer lemons. I used refrigerated orange juice.
Note: Used butter to oil the pan. Used a cast iron skillet as we don't have a griddle.
Note: I don't have a large flat bottomed bowl so I just used a 12x7 baking pan.
Note: I made a mistake and put the strawberries in the sauce too soon and they ended up losing all their color. I would remember to toss the strawberries into the sauce just before serving so that it heats but doesn't really cook. Still tasted good, just didn't look too appealing.
We will definitely make this again and might even serve it to weekend guests.