Sunday, February 21, 2010

Funky Fillings for a Breakfast Favorite

Growing up, Sunday breakfasts sometimes meant dad cooking pancakes or our favorite waffles (we have four different waffle makers, but the belgian Barnyard waffle maker got the most use - go figure) on Sunday mornings, mom's fruit salad, and yummy bacon or chicken apple sausages.

Now that we're all older, currently living all over the place, and with different breakfast preferences, those family breakfasts are few and far between (Christmas and Easter mornings, however, it's nearly almost always my coffee cake and mom's scrambled eggs, with dad's bacon and my sisters' fruit salad). After eating bacon and french toast last weekend, however, I was left with oh-I-want-some-more cravings.

Back in college, I skiied in the Stowe Derby one winter. The morning of the race, my dad, his best buddy Billy, Billy's son Willy, and I all met at a favorite family breakfast spot in Stowe: The Gables Inn. I knew I needed some serious carbs that would last the morning. I ordered a french toast dish there -- where the pieces of cinnamon raisin bread were stuffed with a cinnamon raisin cream cheese before being dipped in egg. Oh, it was so good -- but then again, I haven't met a cinnamon raisin anything that I haven't not liked yet!

After a rough night last night, I woke up famished this morning, and in serious need of a proper Sunday breakfast. With last weekend's french toast in mind, and both goat and cream cheese in the fridge, I decided to experiment a bit.

Bread: of course, my favorite Wave Hill Pain de Campagne
Filling #1: Goat cheese with cinnamon, maple syrup, chopped dried plums (I didn't have raisins!). 
Filling #2: Cream cheese with salted caramel (I still have tons of this on hand) and chopped calimyrna figs

These fillings are super easy to make. I mixed the ingredients, after warming up the cheeses for 15 seconds in the microwave, easily in little ramekins. I sliced the bread about 1.5" thick, and cut a slit partway through the center in each to stuff the slices. One was filled with filling #1, the other with filling #2. I pressed each slice together well to ensure they would stick shut.

I then dipped each slice into my french toast batter (below). I let each slice soak up the egg (especially the crusts) while I heated my griddle. When the griddle was ready, I added a bit of butter so that the slices wouldn't stick, and then cooked the eggy slices. While the first side was cooking, I poured a little excess batter over the other uncooked side, in case it wanted to soak up more egg (you can also make scrambled eggs with the leftover batter -- actually kind of good -- just pour the egg on the griddle, and be careful it doesn't burn!).

When each side was golden brown and the egg cooked, I served these with a bit of warm maple syrup and a dusting of confectioner's sugar. Which filling came out ahead? I did like the cinnamon goat cheese, but there was something just so creamy and salty-sweet perfect about the caramel fig cream cheese. It was the winner in my mind. 

French Toast Batter:
2 eggs
1/4 c whole milk
1/4 c heavy cream
pinch salt
large pinch superfine sugar
cinnamon and/or nutmeg to taste
optional: vanilla or almond extract

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