Mixed Berry Stuffed French Toast

Who doesn’t love French toast? This version is a serious morning wake-up call. If you’re familiar with British summer pudding, it may remind you of it, with bread soaking up deeply colored juices. For the best texture, use a somewhat soft bread like brioche or white, rather than a super-crusty country loaf.

Is French Toast Really French?

The short answer: no. “French Toast” actually originated in ancient Rome called “Pan Dulcis.” Some say that the man who popularized French toast was named Joseph French, and christened the dish after himself in 1724. It might as well be the breakfast food with a thousand names, though, given that it’s been called German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, Poor Knights of Windsor, Spanish toast, nun’s toast, and pain perdu or “lost bread.” The “lost bread” moniker comes from the fact that the French used bread that would’ve otherwise been thrown out and gone stale to make French toast out of. Who cares what you call it, though, as long as it’s delicious.

Mixed Berry Stuffed French Toast Recipe

Mixed Berry Stuffed French Toast Ingredients

  • 1 cup mixed berries, any oversize strawberries halved or quartered
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Real maple syrup, warmed
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional

For the Filling:

  • ¼ lb cream cheese, softened
  • 1 to 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, or blueberry preserves
  • 1 cup mixed berries, any oversize strawberries halved or quartered

For the Batter:

  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or whipping cream, or additional whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt

Mixed Berry Stuffed French Toast Preparation Instructions

For the Filling:

  1. To prepare the filling, mash the cream cheese with 1 tablespoon sugar and the vanilla bean paste.
  2. Mix in the berry preserves well.
  3. Gently stir in the mixed fruit, and add more sugar if the mixture seems too tart. It should be thick and chunky.

For the French Toast:

  1. To prepare the batter, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Butter a baking sheet.
  4. Cut the bread into 8 equal slices, about 1 inch thick.
  5. With a serrated knife, cut a pocket into the side of each piece of bread, carefully slicing into but not through the bread.
  6. Spoon equal portions of the filling into each slice’s pocket.
  7. Dunk the stuffed bread slices into the batter and soak them for several minutes, turning as needed to coat evenly, until saturated but short of falling apart.
  8. While the bread is soaking, combine the berries with the sugar.
  9. Warm 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil together on a griddle or in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  10. Briefly cook the French toast in batches until golden brown and lightly crisp, turning once. Place the first slices on the baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Continue cooking the remaining slices, adding more butter and oil as needed.
  11. When all of the French toast is ready, top it with an equal spoonful of mixed fruit and juices, and if you wish, dust it with confectioners’ sugar, sprinkling it through a fine strainer. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Story by Cheryl Alters Jamison / Styling by Anna Franklin / Photography by Dave Bryce

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