Long, long ago…well, maybe not that long ago, but certainly during our first year of ownership (and we’ve owned The Beechmont for almost for twelve years), a very kind guest and excellent cook shared a recipe for Cranberry French Toast. I offer some changes from her original recipe, but was truly inspired by her efforts. We have a tradition of serving this throughout the holiday season, but it’s great any time you have cranberries on hand.
12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon (have you tried Penzeys Spices? See note below)
1/2 cup sweet marmalade
Place cranberries, sugar, orange juice and cinnamon in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries start to pop. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup sweet orange marmalade. Mix and set aside.
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 lb loaf Portuguese Saloio (or other thick sliced bread); enough for 16 one-inch slices or eight servings
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cup half and half
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
In saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup together over low heat. Stir to blend.
Add 1 to 1 1/2 cup of the cranberry mixture to the brown sugar. Set aside.
Slice bread (approximately one-inch each) and spread cream cheese on one slice, covering with another piece of bread (like a sandwich).
Beat eggs and add half and half, orange juice and vanilla. Blend.
Spread the the cranberry/brown sugar mixture in baking dish. Layer the cream cheese sandwiches on top.
Pour egg mixture over the bread. Refrigerate overnight or bake immediately for 50 – 60 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Bake with aluminum foil over the baking dish for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 – 30 minutes more (bread should be nicely browned, so watch and adjust your time accordingly).
Serve Cranberry French Toast with side of the remaining cranberry sauce, maple syrup, and your favorite bacon or sausage.
Note: I love Penzeys Spices. China Tung Hing Cinnamon is great, or if you prefer a bit milder (but not less flavorful) taste, try the Korintje Indonesia Cinnamon. Descriptions of these and other varieties can be found at www.penzeys.com. I have them all!
Kathryn White, Bed and Breakfast Foodie