On Wednesday, I thought that it was just another Fall day when my husband texted me in the middle of the day while he was at work, “We should have French toast tonight for National French Toast Day.” I was planning to make French toast aka pain perdu this week for dinner since we got some raisin challah from his Grandma on Thanksgiving. We both love breakfast foods anytime of the day, not just in the morning so it was the perfect day for it. I had some American-style Neufchâtel cheese in the fridge and an extra Granny Smith apple that was not used in the Dutch apple pie that I made for Thanksgiving, so we celebrated the beloved breakfast treat by having Stuffed French Toast with Cider-Poached Apples. It was an excellent way to celebrate the day!
A lovely poached apple. Leaving the stem on makes it easy to take it out of the poaching liquid. I chose to poach the apples whole so that it would be easier to core when the apple is softer. Also, using pears would be a great substitute for apple.
Reducing the poaching liquid to make the cider sauce. You can see the steam rising 🙂
Once you see bubbling, the sauce is done!
Note: I used a saucepan since I halved the recipe. Use a larger pot for the original yield.
Lightly toasted raisin challah.
Cream cheese sandwiches.
Soaking in the batter. I used flax eggs in my batter and it turned out really well!
The stuffed French toast ready to be assembled. I think I like using flax egg replacer better than real eggs for making pain perdu!
I have my husband to thank for this out-of-this world spin on French Toast 🙂
Stuffed French Toast with Poached Apples, Pecans, and Cider Sauce
- 8 ounces cream cheese (I used reduced-fat neufchâtel)
- 2 tablespoons unrefined sugar (sucanat, evaporated cane juice, or granulated if you like)
- Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
- 8 slices bread (I used raisin challah, but you could use brioche, white bread, and the gluten-free variety)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole milk (or non-dairy milk like almond, hemp, coconut, etc.)
- 1 large egg (I used flax egg-replacer: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water, mixed)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Topping: pecans, roughly chopped (can be toasted or raw)
- Peel apples, keep the stem on, and rub with lemon/lime. In a pot, mix the brown sugar and apple cider. Place the apples in the pot.
- On medium heat, bring the liquid to boil and cover the pot. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes. Keep the cover on and let apples cool down in the poaching liquid for about 45 minutes-1 hour. Once cooled you can eat the poached apples as is or use for the French Toast.
- Meanwhile, microwave the cream cheese for about 20-30 seconds until softened and is easy to stir with a spoon. Mix with sugar and dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Set aside to cool down.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and toast the bread for about 15 minutes until it has dried out a little bit (stale bread texture). Let it cool.
- Once poached apples have cooled down, core the apples and slice them about 1/4″ thick. Reduce the cider on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes until syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Whisk together the milk, egg or flax mix, vanilla, salt, honey, and cinnamon & nutmeg to taste. Place in a large, shallow dish. Set aside.
- When the cream cheese mixture and the toasted bread are cool, start heating your pan (or large griddle) on medium. Then, divide the cream cheese mixture and spread onto four of the bread slices. Top each of the schmeared bread with the remaining slices of bread.
- Dip two of the sandwiches in the batter and soak 1 minute per side. You will have to do this in two batches unless you are using a large griddle.
- For each batch, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the preheated pan and swirl the butter around on the surface evenly. Remove the sandwiches from the batter and let the excess drip off. Gently place in pan and cook about 2.5 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides. Repeat for the remaining 2 sandwiches.
- Assembly! Place some cider sauce on top of the French Toast and then lay on some poached apple slices. Drizzle with more cider sauce. Sprinkle a handful of the pecans as a topping. Enjoy!
I made sure to be very health conscious and eat good nutritious food for breakfast and lunch and not skip my workout so I wouldn’t feel heavy and could balance out this sweet and rich dinner. But, it turned out not to be so sweet at all. It had just the right amount of sweetness which was offset by the tang of the apple, creamy cheese, and buttery bread. It would be great for Sunday breakfast, brunches or like what we did, for dinner too! Try it!