Vickey’s Baked Strawberry-Stuffed French Toast

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Vickey Bechard, December 2005 MMCW website
Filling: 1 package ( 8 oz) regular or low-fat softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate, 1 cup thickly sliced strawberries.
Bread & Batter: 1 loaf Italian bread–about 4 inches wide (I use Earthgrains–it’s precut), 4 large eggs, 1/2 cup regular or low-fat milk, 2 teaspoon vanilla.

Strawberry Sauce: 2 cups plus 1 cup thickly sliced divided strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate.

To make filling: In a medium bowl stir cream cheese until smooth. Stir in concentrate. Gently fold in berries, they do not need to be completely incorporated.

To prepare bread: Cut a small diagonal slice off each end of bread and discard. Slice bread diagonally into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. Holding the knife parallel to the counter, cut each slice almost in half, leaving 1 side attached to make a pocket. Divide the filling among the pockets and press closed around the edges. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

To make batter: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk,  and vanilla. Slowly pour over bread turning to coat completely. Bread may be baked immediately or refrigerated up to 24 hours covered with plastic wrap or transferred to plastic bags.

To make sauce: In a medium saucepan off the heat, stir together 2 cups berries, sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, 2/3 cup water and mix until cornstarch is dissolved. Cook moderately over low heat stirring often until mixture comes to a boil, turning thick and clear. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in remaining 1 cup of berries and set aside. Serve warm or room temperature. Sauce may be refrigerated overnight.

To bake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease and spray a clean baking sheet (not a cushion pan because of no browning). Place bread on baking sheet about 2 inches apart, bake for 6-9 mintues or until golden brown. Turn and bake an additional 6-9 minutes. Transfer to plate and serve with sauce.

Bananas can be substituted for strawberries. Omit strawberry sauce and top with two sliced bananas and maple syrup.


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