1 1-pound loaf unsliced egg bread, such as challah or other firm bread
1-1/4 cups canned or thawed, frozen pitted tart red cherries, drained
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened (see variation below)*
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar (optional)
6 beaten eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Sifted powdered sugar
For Garnish: (optional)
Apples, sliced into thin wedges
1. Trim ends from the loaf of bread and cut the bread into six 1-1/2-inch-thick slices. To make a pocket in each slice, beginning at the top, cut lengthwise in half to within 1 inch of the bottom. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, beat 3/4 cup of the cherries, cream cheese, whipping cream and the 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, if you like, with an electric mixer until well combined.
3. Spread about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pocket of each slice of bread. Gently press pieces of bread together, distributing filling evenly inside pocket. Combine eggs and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Dip bread into egg mixture to coat all sides.
4. On a griddle or in a skillet, cook bread in hot butter over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add more butter, if needed.
5. Remove from heat and cut French toast in half diagonally, forming two triangles. Place three triangles for each serving on warm plates. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and remaining cherries. Serve with maple syrup, and if desired, garnish with thinly sliced apple wedges and mint sprigs.
Mascarpone cheese (Italian Mascarpone cheese is a buttery rich double cream to triple cream cheese made from cow's milk) may be substituted for the cream cheese in this recipe. You can find mascarpone cheese at some large supermarkets, at Italian delicatessens, or at some gourmet food stores. It may also be purchased online at: pastacheese.com OR at: igourmet.com.
Makes 4 servings.
Date: April 25, 2003