The Edible Complex

The Edible Complex

blundering my way through cooking & plate presentation

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Baked French Toast Medallions

February 16, 2011

This is a bit of a twist on french toast.  Served more as an hor d’oevre, they are bite-sized and work well as a starter course as people around the table get to know one another.

Difficulty: 2 / Prep time: 3-6 / GRADE: A- (next time, I'd make it more 'bread puddingy')

Baking french toast has a couple of advantages over frying it:  1) you bake them all at once and therefore have more time to do other things like prepare the next course or socialize with guests   2) it is a bit healthier as you eliminate some of the butter and/or oil   3) if not overcooked, each piece is crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, reminiscent of bread pudding.

There are 3 basic parts to this recipe


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Cardamom Honey

  • 1 Cup Thinner honey*
  • 10 Cardamom Pods (I used green)

Lightly crush the cardamom pods under the flat end of a knife to expose seed without breaking them.   Mix pods into honey & microwave in a microwave-safe container for 30 seconds.  Wait 1 minute.  Microwave again for 30 seconds and stir.  Repeat this process as needed a few times each day and let the honey “sit” unrefrigerated for 3 – 5 days.   Once infused, microwave for 1 minute & strain through cheese cloth while hot (it strains easier).   Drizzle over french toast & Cream cheese.
NOTE: Try adding orange zest to it for a more complex flavor.

*(Some honeys come in a thick, spreadable form and will not work as easily.  I mixed lavendar & clover honey.  I thought the cardamom would overpower the lavendar flavor – and to me it did. One person actually picked out the lavendar flavor and should be working for NASA or something!  Well done!)

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French Toast Medallions

  • 1 DAY-OLD French Baguette (roughly 2″ in diameter,  12″ long at least.)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups milk
  • 1/4 cup firmly packet brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cinammon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
  • butter

 

Using a fresh baguette?  Cut it up 2 days before the brunch.  Place pieces in a paper sack overnight to “stale”.  If you’re short on time, cut it up and place in the 200˚ oven for 10-15 minutes or lightly toast them to dry them out a bit.  The reason for this is that stale bread soaks up more of the egg mixture than fresh bread.

Grease 2 cookie sheets – ideally with butter.  Mix eggs, milk, sugar & spices.  Whisk together until blended.  Slice baguette into pieces about 1/2 wide.   Shoot for 4 pieces per guest if this is a course in a larger meal.  8-12 if this IS the meal.   Dip bread into mixture, soaking thoroughly.  Drip excess mixture off of bread and place on sheet.  Once all bread is soaked, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 375˚.   Let the bread warm to about room temperature and place a very small cube of butter (1/4 inch) on each piece .  Cook for 45 minutes or until browned and baked through.  Test in 15 minute increments.  Use a spatula to make sure each piece is not stuck to your sheet (that sucks).

NOTE:  Too much brown sugar will carmelize and create a hard, bitter base to each piece. Also, Thicker pieces will yield more “bread pudding-esque” french toast.

While the French Toast is cooking, make your Sweet Cream Cheese – or you can make this the night before and let set in the fridge.

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Cream Cheese Topping

  • 1 packet cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cardamom  (if using your pre-made cardamom-infused honey, omit this)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until pliable.  Mix in spices and whip on high speed until light, scraping down the sides and stopping to scrape out blades as needed.   *(NOTE:  I originally tried it with Ricotta but it was too runny.  You need it to be thick enough to hold its form.  A mixture of ricotta and cream cheese may work as well)

Fit piping bag with large nib and fill bag.

Once french toast has cooled to the point of being hot but handleable, pipe cream cheese onto each piece.  If you don’t have a piping bag or are not confident in piping, you can either spread it on top of each piece or dollop a bit with a spoon for a more organic presentation. Drizzle honey over plate and toss with pecan pieces.   *(NOTE:  if you want thinner drizzles of honey, microwave it for 30 seconds first)

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