Stuffed French Toast

When I last visited Baltimore, my daughter and I went out for Sunday brunch at Gertrude’s.  Gertrude’s is at the Baltimore Museum of Art. They have a Sunday Jazz Brunch of the sit down and be served something elegant kind. So I sat down and was served stuffed French toast with a cinnamon apple topping.  It was divine. It was huge (I only ate half). It was definitely not low fat.  When I got home, the memory of the brunch haunted me.  How hard could stuffed French toast be to make?  And lowering the fat was going to be easy – just use non-fat cream cheese and egg substitute.

So I researched recipes, and found that there are two schools of thought about stuffed French toast. All of recipes called for soaking the stuffed French toasts for at least an hour; some of them called for letting it soak overnight in the refrigerator, which would be handy if you were having people over for brunch the next day.  Some cooks recommended cooking the French toast on the stove top, others called for baking the whole thing in the oven – again, this would be handy for brunch for a crowd.

I opted for the stove top method and set off on a stuffed French toast spree.  I actually ate them for dinner most of the time, instead of breakfast, since I am not much of a big breakfast eater (except for the occasional Sunday brunch).  The instructions for all the stuffed French toast variations themselves are identical, so I just listed the ingredient variations, and instructions for the different toppings. They were divine. They were huge. They were definitely low fat.

Honey French Toast with Cinnamon Apple Topping

4 1½ inch thick slices of French Bread
1 8 ounce block of fat free cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons honey
1 cup egg substitute
½ cup fat-free milk
½ cup fat-free half and half (or all non-fat milk)
2 teaspoons butter, divided

Cinnamon Apple Topping
4 medium apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Process the cream cheese and honey in a food processor until very well blended. Cut a pocket in each slice of French bread by slicing it almost all the way through. (Alternatively, you can use two slightly thinner slices of French bread – 8 slices total for the recipe – if you don’t want to mess with pockets.) Spread ¼ of the cream cheese mixture in each bread pocket (or between the slices of bread). Whisk together the egg substitute, fat-free milk, and fat free half and half.  Place the stuffed French toasts in a flat glass (or non-metal) pan. Pour the egg mixture over the French Toasts, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning once while it is soaking. The egg mixture should be almost all absorbed.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Place one teaspoon of butter in pan and swirl around so the pan is coated.  Place the French toasts in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until golden. Remove the French Toasts from the pan, add the second teaspoon of butter, swirling to coat the pan.  Return the French toasts to the pan to cook the second side. Remove from pan and top with whichever topping you are making.

To make the cinnamon apple topping (I usually make my topping while the French toast is soaking in the refrigerator) place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until apples are soft, stirring occasionally.

Makes 4 servings with about 3 grams of fat/serving.  The fat gram count is the same for all the variations.

stuffed french appleHoney French Toast with Cinnamon Apple Topping

Banana-Rum Stuffed French Toast with Rum Raisin Topping

4 1½ inch thick slices of French Bread
1 8 ounce block of fat free cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons honey
I large mashed ripe banana
2 teaspoons dark rum
1 cup egg substitute
½ cup fat-free milk
½ cup fat-free half and half (or all non-fat milk)
2 teaspoons butter, divided

Rum Raisin Topping
½ cup raisins
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup dark rum
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon cold water
2 Tablespoons fat free half and half

Make stuffed French toast as described above, adding the banana and rum when processing the cream cheese filing.

To make the rum raisin topping, place the raisins, brown sugar, water, and rum in a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.  Mix the cornstarch with cold water, and add to the rum raisin mixture. Cook stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly.  Remove pan from heat and stir in fat free half and half.  (Confession: when I was experimenting with this, I added the half and half before the cornstarch, and let it cook.  It curdled unattractively. The cornstarch helped a bit, but, although it tasted great, as you can see below, it was less than elegant.  So add the fat free half and half last, after you remove it from the heat.)

Variation: You could leave the raisins out and just make rum topping.

stufed french banana Banana-Rum Stuffed French Toast with Rum Raisin Topping


Honey Ginger Stuffed French Toast with Ginger Apricot Topping

4 1½ inch thick slices of French Bread
1 8 ounce block of fat free cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground dried ginger
1 cup egg substitute
½ cup fat-free milk
½ cup fat-free half and half (or all non-fat milk)
2 teaspoons butter, divided

Ginger Apricot Topping
10 ripe apricots, pitted and coarsely chopped
¼ cup of apricot jam
¼ cup of water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground dried ginger

Make stuffed French toast as described above, adding the ginger when processing the cream cheese filing. I added a teaspoon or so of ginger preserves that I happened to have in the refrigerator on top of the cream cheese filling, but if you don’t have it, it isn’t necessary

To make the ginger apricot topping, place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until apricots are soft, stirring occasionally.  I actually wasn’t sure I would like this, because the ginger seemed a little bitter, but the ginger actually gave the French toast and the topping a subtle warmth.

stuffed french apricot Honey Ginger Stuffed French Toast with Ginger Apricot Topping

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ABOUT KAREN

I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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