Whether it's a lazy weekend morning, or a busy holiday, there’s nothing nicer than having breakfast with family and friends. On Thanksgiving, I love to start my day by drinking coffee while I chat with my mom and sister as my kids and their cousins run around and play. Often, however, we need to chat and drink our coffee while also preparing for the big feast later in the day. As cooking a Thanksgiving or other holiday dinner is an all-day event, breakfast needs to be easy. So, while I am always tempted to make something elaborate, I rarely do as the morning plays second fiddle to the Turkey main event later that day.
But a recipe doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming to be delicious and look great. Case in point: Challah French toast stuffed with cream cheese and jam and topped with berries. Regular French toast is a universal favorite, but with just a little extra effort, you can make it exceptional. Even better, this breakfast couldn't be easier to make and you can even prepare most of the dish the night before.
I use Challah bread in the recipe as the egg dough makes it light and fluffy, which is perfect for French toast. You can use whatever bread you like, but just make sure it’s not sliced as you want to be able to cut nice thick pieces so you can create pockets for the cream cheese and jam.
The jam can be any flavor you'd like. I'm partial to using raspberry preserves for the filling and then topping the final product with fresh raspberries, but apple butter is a fantastic alternative and would go great with cooked apples on top.
The egg mixture is seasoned with vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon, which add sweetness and a great aroma. It also includes orange zest to brighten the flavors and add a little nuance to the raspberries. If you don’t have orange zest, you can just add in a tablespoon of orange juice.
Whether it's Thanksgiving, another holiday, or just a regular old morning, Challah bread French toast with cream cheese and jam is a pretty great way to start the day.
Cream Cheese and Jam Stuffed Challah French Toast with Raspberries
Serves: 6 - 8 people (double if feeding a larger crowd)
1 loaf Challah bread
2/3 cup whole milk
Zest from one orange
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup of raspberry jam
Butter for frying
Warm maple syrup to top the French toast
1. Cut bread into 1-inch thick slices.
2. Cut a pocket into the side of each piece and set aside.
3. With a butter knife, spread some cream cheese into the pocket of each slice and then spread some jam on top of the cream cheese. Note: If you tear a little hole in the bread while spreading the cream cheese or jam pinch the bread to seal.
4. In a large baking dish, mix the eggs, milk, orange zest, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla.
5. Set each slice of bread into the egg mixture, making sure each side is evenly coated. Turn each slice over so they're covered on both sides and then let sit for at least 5 minutes so the egg starts to soak into the bread. You can also let the mixture sit overnight. Just make sure you flip the bread in the egg so it's covered on both sides and then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
6. Heat a large griddle or frying pan to medium high.
7. Coat the bottom of the pan with butter (and don’t be stingy). Once it's sizzling, lay your egg-coated Challah inside.
8. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium or medium low and let the Challah sit for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom side.
9. Flip the Challah pieces and cover again until the French toast is browned on both sides.
10. Finish cooking the rest of the egg-dipped Challah (adding more butter between each batch) until finished.
11. Top finished French toast with maple syrup and raspberries.