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Apple-Stuffed French Toast with Cider Syrup

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Serves six.

Yields 2-1/4 cups filling and 1 cup syrup.

Use firm, slightly tart baking apples, such as McIntosh or Rome. I like to use raisin bread for this recipe.

For the filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped apple
For the French toast:
  • 6 slices (1-1/2 inches thick) cinnamon-raisin bread, challah, or other medium-textured loaf
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. corn oil
For the syrup:
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
Make the filling:

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon and beat with a hand mixer on high speed until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 1 minute. Gently stir in the sour cream and apple until just combined.

Make the French toast:

Create a pocket in each slice of bread by inserting a sharp knife into the center of the top crust and then working the knife in both directions, cutting to within 3/4 inch of the sides and bottom (be careful not to puncture the sides).

Squeeze the bread gently to part the opening. Spoon in 2 or 3 Tbs. of the prepared filling until the pocket is full but not bursting; the amount will depend on the size of the bread. Tap the bread on the counter to settle the filling. Wipe any extra filling from the opening with a clean paper towel.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and cream. Dip each slice of stuffed bread into the egg mixture, soaking each side for about 1 min. to coat well and evenly. Stand the pieces upright in a baking dish and drizzle with any remaining egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Sauté as many pieces of French toast as will fit comfortably in the pan at one time, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. per side; the bread will puff up a bit. Continue with all pieces. Put the sautéed French toast on a greased baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Make the syrup:

In a medium saucepan, whisk the apple cider, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture just to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until thickened and reduced to about 1 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted. Serve warm over stuffed French toast.

Photo: Scott Phillips

One of several breakfast recipes suggested by Fine Cooking for this year's holiday season. This was excellent and the flavors went well together. We didn't have apple cider but did have some boiled cider that we heated up with maple syrup and the other seasonings. Also used an unsliced loaf of raisin challah. It took some time to put together but was worth the effort.

I loved this recipe. All the flavors meld together very well. The cider-syrup smells like Christmas. I used stale raisin-walnut bread, with excellent results.

This is one of our all-time favorite Fine Cooking recipes; that issue is well worn... It's a bit messy to make, but fun and well worth the effort.

I've made this recipe 2x's now and both times it has been a hit. The cream-cheese apple stuffing is amazing with the cider syrup. It is not too rich. The only adjustment I made was adding 1.5 tsp of vanilla to the egg/cream mixture the bread is soaked in. This is definitely a keeper that can be served with confidence to guests and family alike.

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