Peaches and Cream Stuffed French Toast, The Corner Restaurant, Milford
The Corner Restaurant takes a classic brunch dish to the next level. “Our French toast is stuffed with peaches and cream and topped with even more peaches and cream, so it’s very decadent yet still refreshing,” co-owner Michele Lebel says. Featured on the Cooking Channel, it’s become a customer favorite. “Even people who love our spicy brunch dishes usually get at least one slice of French toast on the side or for dessert.”
Yield: 8 servings
- 2 (16-ounce) jars of peaches
- 1½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 10 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large orange, zested
- 2 loaves French bread
- 1½ cups canola oil
- Pure maple syrup
- Whipped cream, for garnish
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Drain the peaches in a strainer; set aside in a large bowl.
Place the cream cheese and condensed milk into a food processor. Purée on medium until well blended. Add the cream mixture to the peaches and gently fold them together.
In a separate medium bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the milk, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and orange zest.
Slice the loaves of bread lengthwise (do not cut all the way through; the loaf should open like a book). Pull out a little bit of the “fluffy” bread inside along the whole loaf. This will make more room for the filling.
Split the peaches and cream filling into thirds. Put aside a third of the peach filling for later use. Spoon a third of the filing into each loaf of bread. Refrigerate the stuffed bread overnight. This allows the bread to set so that it won’t separate during cooking time.
Cut off and discard the ends of the bread. Use a serrated knife to slice the stuffed loaves into 1½-inch slices.
In a frying pan, heat the oil until hot. Dunk the stuffed slices into the egg mixture and pan fry. Flip the slices when they are golden brown. When both sides are done, remove the French toast from the pan and set on a paper towel to absorb excess oil for 1 minute.
Plate your French toast. Use the remaining peaches and cream mixture to top the dish. Drizzle with maple syrup and garnish with whipped cream and fresh mint.
Chef’s note: During peach season fresh peaches may be used instead of canned.
Blueberry Jam Pancake Topping, O’Rourke’s Diner, Middletown
Bursting with blueberries, the warm jam topping is the sweet complement to owner Brian O’Rourke’s savory pancakes. “We cook each pancake on a 350-degree, flat-top grill using authentic Irish butter to prevent sticking and give them a one-of-a-kind flavor,” chef Michael Kolenda says of the dish, which has been a customer favorite for more than five decades.
Yield: 4 pints
- 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 7½ cups sugar
- 2 (3-ounce) pouches liquid fruit pectin (O’Rourke suggests Certo brand)
- 2 apples, cored and peeled
- 2 pears, cored and peeled
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine all ingredients and gradually heat, starting on low heat until they come to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, and then remove from heat.
Transfer to containers and allow to cool. At the diner, because of the volume used daily, preserves are bottled in quart-size jars and refrigerated. Preserves can also be canned or frozen.
Use about 4-5 ounces (or top to taste) when serving.
London 75, Dere Street Restaurant and Bar, Newtown
A twist on the French 75, which is made with gin and Champagne, this brunch cocktail is tinged with Dere Street’s British influence. “Instead of a typical mimosa or Bellini, this is our fancy version of a brunch cocktail,” says manager Christiana Price. “We added mulberry gin to give the cocktail a little more sweetness.”
- 1 ounce Beefeater 24 gin
- ½ ounce Boodles mulberry gin
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce rosemary simple syrup
- 2 ounces Prosecco
Shake and pour into a champagne flute. Top off with Prosecco and a lemon twist.
To make the rosemary simple syrup: Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup white sugar and ¼ cup rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let syrup steep, about 30 minutes. Remove rosemary sprigs before adding to cocktail.