Use your imagination! Use the fruit of your choice! Use reduced calorie cream cheese if you're watching your fat intake as the dish retains its luxurious taste even with the calorie reduction! But, don't use margarine to cook this in as it contains a certain amount of water and will not give you a nice, crisp crust and golden color.
Young, in the middle or old...everyone l♥ves this because it's such a nice change from the old standby...not that there's anything wrong with that, either☺
- 6 (approximately 2″ thick) slices Italian or French bread
- 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (plus more for garnish)
- 6-8 fresh plump, large strawberries (plus more for garnish)
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 large eggs
- 1 level tablespoon white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, more if you're like me and are totally self-indulgent
Laying each slice of bread on its edge lengthwise, create a pocket by slicing through the middle of each piece but stopping as you near the opposite crust, so as to create a single, hinged piece (a lot like a clam shell). DO NOT SCOOP OUT ANY OF THE BREAD. Do this for all 6 slices until you have created 6 pieces, each with a hinged pocket.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix cream cheese, Mascarpone cheese, and powdered sugar until well blended.
Slice 6-8 ripe, large strawberries to desired thickness.
Opening the pocket of each piece of bread, spread the cream cheese, Mascarpone, and powdered sugar mixture into each, creating a thick layer of cream. Next lay 1 row of sliced strawberries on the top of each layer of cream, slightly overlapping the berries as you go. When you are finished, each pocket of bread should contain a single layer of cream and a single layer of strawberries.
In a medium-sized oval or rectangular dish, mix half and half, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon with a whisk until blended. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat.
Dip each stuffed piece of bread into the half and half and egg batter using tongs, taking care to cover both sides and the edges. Drain slightly before setting each piece into the moderately heated skillet containing the melted butter.
Watch carefully and flip each piece over after the bottom reaches a light, golden brown. Continue cooking until second side is lookin' just like the first. Keep cooked pieces of French toast warm in a 250 degree F oven while you continue cooking the remaining pieces.
When all the pieces have been cooked, place each on individual serving plates and dust lightly with powdered sugar. Garnish plates with additional whole strawberries, or slice and fan additional strawberries for garnish. YUM!