Friday, January 21, 2011

Lemon Cardamom Baby French Toast Sandwiches

I love to serve this delicious and unusual dish when we're entertaining another couple for breakfast or brunch. Not only is it impressive, I especially like that it must be prepared in advance. More time to spend with your guests! Pork sausage, vegetarian sausage or bacon plus seasonal fruits are wonderful accompaniments.

Helpful to know: Plan ahead. This needs to be prepared the day before serving. You can find Tuscan bread in the specialty breads section of most food stores nationwide. Be sure to grate the lemon zest before you juice the lemon.

Lemon Cardamom Sandwiches

½ cup light whipped cream cheese

1 teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons lemon peel, finely grated

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Sixteen ½-inch slices French bread

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, cardamom, lemon peel and lemon juice. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over eight slices of French bread slices; top each slice with second slice of bread.

Egg Mixture

4 eggs, room temperature

½ cup half & half

Whisk eggs with half & half in a baking dish that will accommodate 8 pieces of French bread in a single layer. Place sandwiches in egg mixture and allow to soak for five minutes on each side. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day …

1-2 tablespoons canola oil, for cooking

Butter and syrup

In preparation for cooking, allow sandwiches to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes.) Heat canola oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat, cook sandwiches (in batches of 4 or in two skillets) until golden brown on each side. Serve immediately with butter and syrup. Yield: 4 servings, 2 sandwiches per person.