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Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast

Recipe by Innkeeper Shelley Sharp. Photos by Lindsey Smith.

Ingredients

FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:

One large loaf fresh bread (I use our homemade oat bread)
1 tsp salt
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 T real vanilla extract
1 T orange extract
1 T maple extract
1 dozen farm fresh eggs
2 cups milk of your choice (I like to use ½ cup cream & 1.5 cups whole milk OR ½ cup coconut crème & 1.5 cups almond/coconut milk)
1/2 cup blue agave sweetener (white sugar works too)
1 cup raisins or currants (optional)
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds (no need to toast)
8 T butter; melted (or coconut oil for non-dairy option)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
Canola or vegetable oil cooking spray
Confectioner’s sugar and sliced strawberries for garnish

strawberry rhubarb baked french toast FOR THE SAUCE:

2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups fresh or frozen whole strawberries
1 cup water
2 T corn starch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 T real vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange marmalade or apricot preserves
1 cup real maple syrup

Method

FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse whole almonds in a food processor until course (not necessary with slivered almonds).

Slice bread, then cut into ¼ inch cubes; place in a large bowl with room to spare.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs, salt, pie spice, extracts, milk, and sweetener with a whisk until well mixed.

Pour wet mixture over bread and thoroughly incorporate (I use my hands); make sure there is plenty of egg mixture for the bread to soak up. (If it’s a little runny, that’s okay. If it’s dry, add a little more milk.)

If adding any dried fruit, do it now and mix until evenly distributed.

Melt butter in microwave or stovetop. Spray 9×12 baking dish with cooking spray; pour ½ of the melted butter directly over the spray and swirl until it coats the pan

Pour bread and egg mixture in the pan and distribute evenly (don’t press down). Pour remaining butter over the mixture, top evening with almonds and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes; test center to make sure eggs are cooked, then reduce heat for another 10 minutes or so, if needed.

Note: Can be made the night before, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. In the morning, bring to room temperature one hour before baking.

FOR THE SAUCE:

Place cut rhubarb and strawberries in heavy cooking sauce pan. Add the water and set on a low setting on the stovetop. When heated through, add cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Add the vinegar, spices, vanilla – continue to heat on low. Approximately 20 minutes before serving, add marmalade and maple syrup. Continue heating on a low temperature.

Note: Sauce can be made up to three days in advance; refrigerated, then heated on low in a saucepan while French toast is baking.

Serving

Serves 8. Remove French toast from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares or slices making sure to insert a knife along the sides of the pan to prevent sticking. With a thin metal spatula, place a piece of French toast on each plate and ladle sauce over. Top with sprinkled confectioner’s sugar and fresh strawberries. If you want something a bit more decadent, fresh whipped crème and almonds are great too. For a fresh herbal bite – top with a sprig of basil leaves.

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