Baked Freedom Toast

July 4th Weekend

I am a Francophile and a French toast lover.  This much is clair.  However, when red, white and blue are flying high for the fourth of July, I have to make semantic adjustments.  Thus, I present to you, a rare case of patriotism and a great excuse for brunching!

Red, White & Blue Baked Freedom Toast    

Rhubarb Compote

2 ½ cups 1-inch pieces fresh local rhubarb
¾  cup raw sugar
¼ cup Shiraz (The Accomplice 2009)

For the Compote

Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan.

Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer until rhubarb is very soft and begins to fall apart, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Transfer compote to a bowl or jar.

Refrigerate uncovered until cold, about 3 hours.

Freedom Toast Ingredients:

1 Tablespoons organic unsalted butter
¼ to ½ cup organic brown sugar, depending on taste
4 challah rolls
1 pint blueberries
1 quart organic, local strawberries, sliced
Cinnamon to taste
1 package Neufchatel cheese
3 eggs + 2 egg whites (local, free-range)
1 cup local whole milk
1/4 cup local pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Final Touches

*Rhubarb Compote
Chopped Pecans
Organic powdered sugar
Local pure maple syrup

Directions

Cut each challah roll into slices. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.  Set aside.

Coat a rectangular, glass, baking pan with the butter and then sprinkle with brown sugar.

Assemble the first layer of challah into the pan.

Then assemble another layer directly on top of the first.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread being sure that it seeps into every crevice and covers each piece of bread on the surface.

Let the bread soak up some of the liquid for at least 45 minutes to overnight.

Prior to brunching time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the baking dish on the middle rack in the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the egg mixture is set and the bread is brown.

Remove from the oven and spread a layer of the rhubarb compote and chopped pecans.  Return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the compote is warm and ready to serve.

Dust with powdered sugar.

Bring to the brunching table with the other delectables.

Serve and drench with maple syrup.

Salute your flag!

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