April 24, 2014
Baked French Toast with Pear-Cranberry Compote ♥ Week Three, Day Three - EatingWell Meal Plan
Please forgive the bad photo, it was taken at the dinner table. This was so good, there was none left to photograph the next morning. Apparently there was a visit from a little leprechaun during the night.
I have wanted to make the perfect version of a baked French toast for many years. Not as easy as you think.
Most recipes I see floating here and there are for different versions of a bread pudding. Not a bad thing, it was not what I was going for.
Years ago when RR did her $40 a Day show, she ate a version of French toast that amounted to layers of old bread & jams that was compressed in a loaf pan, until it reached the top. Then a custard was added, the bread was weighted and then it got an overnight soak. Unmolded, it was sliced into 1-inch pieces, sauteed in butter and served with syrup. It looked delish.
Finally after many unsuccessful tries I was able to get the correct texture.
You must tear the bread (not cube) and soak it for at least 6 hours. It came out with the consistency of a freshly baked loaf of bread which I had studded with Virginia ham and flavored with cinnamon, allspice and cardamom.
While this was an excellent way to use up bread, the basic dip and fry method is still acceptable, but if you get the chance to try this technique, you will be very happy and if you make enough, breakfast for dinner will be a hit in your house. Your family will love you for it.
While this post is really about the compote off of this meal plan, it was a great way to showcase the French toast.
It is so easy. Simply place everything in a baking pan, cover & let it do it's thing in the fridge the night before. I imagine this could easily be cooked in a slow cooker while you went about your normal day. Just follow the bread pudding cooking directions from your slow cooker recipes. Since I have a huge slow cooker (it would make enough for a dozen servings), I would have to make a ring of foil to use as a rack, just to elevate a pan (I used a large loaf pan) off the bottom (so it bakes evenly on all sides, almost like a water bath), set the timer for 4 hours, the heat on low and all that's required is to reheat before eating.
Once again I added my own twist to an original meal plan recipe, but I promise, it is not only healthy and flavorful, it is the best baked French toast you will have ever eaten.
So what exactly did I change? I used an egg substitute, fat-free half & half, a sugar sub and ham. I used the standard cinnamon but added cardamom and allspice. No vanilla extract but lite brown sugar & maple syrup. Yummy!
One 2" serving of baked French Toast (two pieces) and 1/4 cup compote is only a little over 300 calories.
I say that is a sweet nice way to end the day.
Baked French Toast Casserole
Makes: 4 servings
* 2 whole eggs
* 1/2 cup egg beaters
* 1 tablespoon Truvia
* 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
* 1 cup fat-free half & half
* Pinch of salt
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup (sugar-free is OK also)
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon & allspice
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 pound ham steak, 1/4" cubes
* 1/2 loaf sourdough bread, hard crust removed, torn into 1 1/2" pieces
* 1/4 cup honey roasted sliced almonds
1. Toast day old torn bread on sheet pan at 250° for 30 minutes. Cool.
2. Mix first 10 ingredients till spices are incorporated.
3. Line a loaf pan or small baking dish with parchment paper that has been sprayed with a release agent. Toss the bread and ham into pan, top with almonds. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread, cover with plastic wrap, place a plate on top and place a weight on that. Set it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 8 hours if possible (prepare in the morning).
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
* 1/2 (14oz) can whole cranberry sauce
* 2 Bosc pears, core removed and chopped
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tablespoon brandy (optional, the alcohol cooks out)
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup, sugar-free is fine
* 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon & cardamon
1. Place everything in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the fruit and simmer the sauce for another 20 minutes until it is thick and syrupy.
2. Stir the fruit back into the syrup, cool to room temp and store in a container.
Compote Nutrition - left side
Toast Nutrition - right side