My love of French toast, and conversely my inability to flip anything in a pan, leads to a lot of baked French toast at my brunching table. The baked French toast is a blank canvas that can be painted with all sorts of colors and flavors, but for the Epic Brunch on my horizon, I sought to change the canvas as well! I thought, “wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone felt like a little French toast had been made just for them?” Thus another miniature menu item popped into my head (the first was the mini alliterative frittatas)!
(Bread from Left to Right)
Friendship Farms Buckwheat Barley Bread [available at Whole Foods PGH]
La Gourmandine’s Pain aux Cereales (Sesame, Flax and Sunflower seeds)
Ultimate Grains’ Double Fiber bread [available at Whole Foods PGH]
If you’re a Pittsburgher, do I have a bread tip for you! The almond croissants in my eyes blinded me to a magical loaf of bread for far too long. All these trips to La Gourmandine [my Pittsburgh salvation], and I was too pastry driven to notice the wonderfully grainy, yet pillowy loaf known eponymously as pain aux cereales. If you’re in the neighborhood, pick up a loaf…on second thought… don’t pick up a loaf! I want it! It was only by restraint and a sheer desire for the utmost bread variety that any of that delightful purchase made it to the stale level of French toast potential. My growing list of La Gourmandine obsessions will surely end in fisticuffs one fateful day! Don’t let me see you snatch the last almond croissant before me in line. You have been warned!
Individual Baked French Toasts
Makes 18 French Toast Cups
4 eggs (local/free-range)
2 cups organic buttermilk
5-6 chunks of bread/cupcake
~1 Tablespoon of [Bonne Maman] cherry preserves/cupcake
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract/cupcake
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract/cupcake
~1 Tablespoon of pure maple syrup/cupcake
Dash of cinnamon & nutmeg/cupcake
Organic brown sugar
Line a non-stick cupcake pan with natural parchment cupcake liners.
Add about 5-6 chunks of bread to each cupcake, followed by the cherry preserves, almond extract, vanilla extract, maple syrup and spices.
In a measuring glass, mix the eggs and buttermilk. Pour over each cupcake, making sure to fully saturate the top of the bread. Use additional buttermilk to saturate any dry pieces.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Sprinkle almond slivers and brown sugar on top of each cupcake.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with whipped maple mascarpone topping and Bonne Maman cherry preserves!
Whipped Maple Mascarpone Topping
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until smooth and creamy. ‘Tis all!
Stay tuned for the rest of the Epic Brunch of Miniature Proportions!