I can’t believe it is already time again for another round of the Secret Recipe Club! That month went fast! This time around I was assigned Brandy, the Nutmeg Nanny‘s blog, and couldn’t have been happier. She makes the kinds of things I love to make and eat so the difficult choice was actually settling on one thing to feature.
On her blog she has a recipe called The Bianca. Intriguing, no?
Of course I had to find out what that was and it turns out it is a dessert grilled cheese sandwich that is layered with raspberry jam, dulce de leche and mascarpone cheese. It sounded different and absolutely heavenly and my first thought was that it must be french toast. I read more closely then and found that it is actually just the grilled bread, but that Brandy thought it would make fantastic french toast too. I decided that would have to be the way to go for me.
I didn’t have any mascarpone cheese on hand, or dulce de leche for that matter, or bread actually, so when I wanted to plan and make this recipe I had to plan ahead a little bit. I’ve been playing around with different bread recipes trying to find one I love that would perfectly substitute the store bought sandwich loaf that my boys prefer. I just can’t justify the cost of store bought when I can make it at home. Seriously, they are charging almost $4 a loaf for the brand we usually buy (a local company even) and it is ridiculous – we’re not talking some crazy good artisan bread here so I’m working it out of our lives. The loaf I used to make this bread is *almost* perfect so once I’ve really tweaked and perfected it I will let you know.
Anyway, I decided to use regular cream cheese instead of the mascarpone, just because it was handy and I alway have it. I also lived dangerously and boiled a can of sweetened condensed milk in a large, water filled pot for about 4 hours to make my dulce de leche. I know there are stories out there about cans exploding, but I’ve never had any problem at all and was feeling somewhat lazy. It worked just fine as usual, but you can also easily buy a can of dulce de leche in your market’s Latin section. It is a wonderful thing to keep on hand.
As for my jam I used a seedless, black raspberry that I love.
I have to tell you, I didn’t know what to expect from this recipe… and now I don’t know how I’ll ever eat french toast with just syrup again. The only thing I can think of to say about this was that it definitely rivals the Nutella stuffed french toast I posted not long ago in being a really special treat and ridiculously delicious.
French Toast with Raspberry, Dulce de Leche and Cream Cheese
Adapted from Nutmeg Nanny
FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:
8 slices good quality white bread
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, for the griddle
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
FOR THE FILLING:
1 tablespoon seedless black raspberry jam per ‘sandwich’
2 tablespoons dulce de leche, slightly warmed and spreadable
FOR THE GARNISH:
fresh berries for topping, raspberries and blackberries preferably
confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
Prepare all your fillings and garnishes first so that you are ready to layer and serve while your french toast is hot.
To prepare the cream cheese just put the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and use a handheld mixer to beat the filling until it is light and creamy and spreadable. Set aside. Have your other fillings ready, stirred and spreadable, with the dulce de leche slightly warmed.
To make the french toast use a shallow dish to beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar thoroughly to combine. Heat a large griddle over medium high heat, then turn the temperature down to medium low and cover the surface with the butter to melt it and grease the pan generously with the pan. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture on each side, just for a couple of seconds to soak up a little of the mixture. Place each dipped piece into the butter on your griddle and allow it to cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, then turn it over and cook the other side.
Place one piece of french toast on each person’s plate and spread some of the cream cheese mixture on top, followed by the dulce de leche. On the second slice of toast for each serving spread the jam. Sandwich the two pieces together, sprinkle with berries and confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.
Makes enough for 4 servings.