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TODAY

Monday, September 23

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Brunch is one of those things I love. However, there are also those days when cooking breakfast feels oh so good as well. Especially for two.

I had the fortune to dine at La Bodega for brunch last winter and remembered a dish I had Ė stuffed French toast. A few weekends ago, I was making breakfast for my significant other and was thinking about what I wanted to make. The La Bodega dish sprang to mind, and I decided to change the things I didnít like about it and thus improve the recipe. It was a success, and this past weekend I made it for the girlís family, which went over well. It is a simple but impressive looking dish made quickly and easily.

So here we go:

French Toast Stuffed with Honey Nut Cream Cheese and Strawberries

What you're going to need (serves two, adjust for more):
1 loaf of Vienna Bread or any large bodied loaf
1 package of fresh strawberries
3 eggs
1 tub of Philadelphia Honey Nut Cream Cheese (or substitute with plain or other flavored cream cheese of your liking)
Powdered sugar

What we're going to do:

Wash a cup of strawberries and slice them up. This will be one part of the stuffing.

Crack the eggs, throw them in a bowl and whisk them up a little. You want to beat them gently.

Take the Vienna bread loaf and chop off the ends. Essentially, what you want is two six-inch long, square-shaped pieces. You may want to slice the loaf in the middle and work your way out instead. But keep the ends handy.

Take one piece of the bread and stand it up so that the open ends are on the bottom and top. Take your bread knife or chef's knife and stab into the open end about half way into the center of the bread, more or less.

Open the tub of cream cheese (helps if itís soft at this point) and, with a knife, scoop up a generous amount and insert the cream cheese into the incision you made in the bread. You want to smear the cream cheese around the walls of the incision inside. Add more or less, depending on how much you like. Then add half the sliced strawberries in there, stuffing the bread.

Now remember those ends we chopped off? Well, now that we have made these open holes in the bread with the stuffing, you want to close them back up. Take the ends for each piece of bread and use them to stuff and top off the open ends.

Heat up a pan on medium high, with some oil or butter.

Now take this huge chunk of delicious and dip it into the egg mixture. Make sure you coat the ends and move it around so everything gets nice and slick. Use your hands -- it is much easier and you can keep the makeshift ends from popping out.

With the stuffed end facing down, place the stuffed bread on the pan and cook for two or three minutes and then flip over (hurrah, since we placed the stuffing end down, the egg mixture has sealed the end up, thus causing no leakage of stuffing) and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Flip the bread on its side and cook all around the "skin" Ė you can add more egg mix if you want the sides/walls to be more egg-y.

And you are done. More or less.

Place your soon to be melting in your mouth breakfast on a plate and, using a sifter or your hand, sprinkle the French toast with the powdered sugar and serve.

C'est la vie.

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