Friday, March 08, 2013

Blueberry Cream French Toast


All apologies for the ugly picture.  I had one of the girls hold a napkin behind this just before we gobbled it for Millie's birthday breakfast.  Don't let it dissuade you from this exceptional breakfast!  Also, unless your free-roaming chickens also provide you with shockingly yellow yolks, the bread won't be tinged this brightly.

I've made this several times for special occasion breakfasts, and the fact that it's assembled the night before makes for smooth sailing the next morning.  (Shhh.  Don't tell anyone, but for Millie's birthday breakfast, I assembled it right before baking and just smushed the bread into the egg batter to soak it thoroughly.  It worked just dandy.)

If my approval isn't enough, and you still need some convincing (or a kick in the pants), this recipe was the Grand Prize winner in Taste of Home's "Very Berry" contest of 1996.  Thanks to you, Patricia Walls of Aurora, Minnesota, we have a winner!

-12 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed (I use rustic bread and don't remove the crusts because I like the texture, plus I'm lazy.  Also, I'm a rebel)
- 2 packages cream cheese (I often use less.  1 - 1 and 1/2 packages.)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I've only ever used frozen leftover from summer picking.)
-12 eggs
-2 cups milk
-1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Sauce: I usually double this, because the following amounts only make 1 and 3/4 cups, and we like blueberry sauce used liberally.
-1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I use frozen.)
- 1 tablespoon butter

Cut (or tear) the bread into one-inch cubes.  Place half in a greased 13 X 9 inch baking dish.  Cut cream cheese into one-inch cubes* and place over bread.  Top with blueberries and remaining bread cubes.  In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Add milk and syrup; mix well.  Pour over bread mixture.  Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Cover; bake4 at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until center is set.

For sauce, in a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and water until smooth.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 3 minutes.  Stir in blueberries; reduce heat.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until berries have burst.  Stir in butter until melted.  Serve over the French toast.

I don't like the cubes of plain cream cheese in the French toast.  It seems like too  much straight cream cheese (though I don't have a problem eating cream cheese plain, otherwise; go figure).  I usually cut the amount of cream cheese and add some sugar and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth.  Then I drop it by dollops onto the bottom bread layer.

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