Orange French Toast with Pears and Cherries

Orange French Toast with Fresh Pears and Cherries

This year’s commercial love weekend is a lonely feast. My love package of Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies, Cornmeal Lime Butter Cookies, and Roast Lemon-Thyme Almonds was shipped last week for the West coast. In the spirit of maintaining a busy mind, this declared romantic weekend is full of freelance work.

However, I’m treating myself to Orange French Toast topped with fresh Pears and Cherries. This version uses stale Honey Wheat Bread made from scratch in my kitchen. French toast is not a popular breakfast dish, because it’s made with soft, commercial bread that has a longer shelf life because of the preservatives. The result is a French toast with a soggy center. It’s actually a recipe at its best with thick slices of French or Italian loaves (since moving to New York, I’ve discovered Challah is a buttery option, too). Such bread is fresh for one day. It’s a great bread to include in a romantically planned menu. I recommend serving half a loaf as garlic bread to accompany a meal of lasagna and salad. By the next morning, the loaf is hard and stale (slice it the night before if making French Bread). Using the mantra, “no food goes to waste,” day-old bread slices are temporarily soaked in a milk and egg mixture, before it’s lightly fried in a skillet.

Usually caramelized pears top most of my sweet breakfast bread recipes, such as pancakes. This time they’re served fresh. The cherries are out of season, but the local grocery store had them on sale. It’s a worthy spurge. Adding orange zest and fresh maple syrup to the egg batter makes this a special dish. Layering the French Toast with pear slices, topping it with pitted and halved cherries, slice almonds, and powdered sugar is an impressive breakfast meal for your honey.

It’s quite a treat to me. Such indulges are lonely meals to savor. Last year, the boyfriend and I went to the movies and had a romantic dinner. His absence is missed, but my mind is so busy working on projects, Valentine’s Day is a blip on the 2011 calendar.

Love is to food as life is to the heart. How are you spending your Valentine’s Day?

Orange French Toast with Pears and Cherries

Orange French Toast with Fresh Pears and Cherries
2 eggs (add one more if an eggier batter is desired)
1 cup organic milk
A dash of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
The grated zest and juice of one orange
2 to 3 tbsp. dark maple syrup
6 to 8 slices of stale, hard bread (challah, French/Italian Loaf, or leftover Honey Wheat bread; sliced 1 to 2 inches thick)
4 Bosc pears; peeled and cored, sliced length-wise
About 1/2 to 3/4 lb. fresh cherries; pitted and sliced in half
Garnish: Dark maple syrup, powder sugar, and almond slices (toasted)

1. Preheat oven to under 200°F. Leave the oven door ajar. Place a plate inside the oven.
2. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange zest and juice, and maple syrup together to make the batter.
3. Pour batter into a large shallow pan or bowl. Place bread slices into the batter. When they’re just beginning to soft, but they’re still hard, turn them over to soak the other side. Don’t let the bread become soggy or they will fall apart.
4. Meanwhile, heat butter or olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
5. When the bread is soaked and the butter is hot, place bread slices in the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until the underside is golden brown. Flip bread slices over and cook until the other side is golden brown, too. Place French toast onto the plate that is in the oven. Continue cooking the rest of the bread.
6. To Plate: Sprinkle a few almonds onto a plate. Place the first slice of French Toast on top of the almonds. Layer pear slices over the French Toast. Sprinkle a few more almond slices on top. Place the second slice of French Toast on top of the first layer. Sprinkle a few more almond slices on top of the second layer. Place the third and last French Toast slice over the second layer. Sprinkle a few more almond slices on top. Spoon plenty of fresh cherries over the layers of French Toast, pear slices, and Almonds. Drizzle maple syrup over the cherries and dust the plate with powdered sugar.
7. Enjoy!

Orange French Toast with Fresh Pears and Cherries

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6 thoughts on “Orange French Toast with Pears and Cherries

  • February 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you, Angela for the award! I’m truly honored.

  • February 15, 2011 at 4:11 am

    WOW! This looks amazingly delicious! Will keep this in mind for visiting guests who are coming soon. Found you through TriniGourmet. Great work. Will be back!

  • February 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

    This is a feast for the eyes, for sure!! We bypass the big V-day hoopla in favor of having really decadent food– you don’t need a significant other for that!!

  • February 12, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I keep meaning to take my little six month old to town to an old chocolatier to see if I can find a heart shaped box of chocolates for my sweet man. I remember my dad giving me one like this when I was young and I’ve cherished the heart box ever since. But it’s such hot sticky weather here in Brisbane and I haven’t managed the trip yet. Ah the romantic life of new parents…

    On french toast, which I LOVE- I hardly ever order it out for breakfast because people never soak the bread long enough and use bread that’s too fresh (and doughy). The result is a layer of egg fried to the outside of the bread and nothing going on in the center. Absolutely has to be stale bread, I agree, and a soaking that takes as long as it takes to penetrate.

    Also, Jill Dupleix, in her New Food, also makes an orange french toast, actually replacing the milk with orange juice. Or maybe just some of it? Can’t remember, anyway, been meaning to give that a go.

    Looks like a gorgeous breakfast anyway, Sanura, thanks for sharing!



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