Cherry-Filled French Toast

Cherry-Filled French Toast

Thick French toast is filled with cream cheese and sweet cherries.

4 slices (about 1-1/4”/ 3-cm thick) challah bread
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
½ cup pitted sweet cherries, quartered
2 tsp granulated sugar
7 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp grated orange zest
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
Approx. ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Butter and maple syrup (for serving)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400F
Step 2: Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit into each piece of bread through one crust, making an interior pocket as large as possible while keeping the three other crusts of the bread intact.

Step 3: Spread about 1 tbsp cream cheese inside each pocket. Try not to rip the bread; it’s fine to spread the cheese only roughly.

Step 4: Toss together cherries and 2 tsp sugar. Divide cherry mixture among bread pockets.

Step 5: In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 1 tbsp sugar, zest, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour into a shallow dish just large enough to hold the filled breads. Set filled breads in egg mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Carefully flip, and immerse second side in egg mixture for 5 minutes. Spoon egg mixture over sides of bread making sure bread is saturated.

Step 6: Remove bread from egg bath. Shake off drips. Place on cookie sheet buttered with ¼ cup melted butter. Bake 10 minutes. Turn over, adding more butter to pan if needed. Bake 5 minutes or until puffed and golden. (Or cook in buttered skillet on stove over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side.) Serve immediately with butter and syrup.
Serves 4