Ricotta-Filled Orange French Toast

In the second recipe post of the week I’m going to reveal a secret family recipe that my mom has been using to wow visitors for years.  It will be perfect for your overnight or early morning holiday guests.

This recipe is simple, delicious and impressive looking.  The best part is that you prep it the day before so the morning it is to be served it just needs to be popped in the oven.  So far we’ve never had anyone turn their nose up at it and, in fact, when it was prepared just a few weeks ago, one of our guests photographed it to show his wife.

There is very little to say about this recipe other than it is a good one to personalize.  Basically, you are cutting a loaf of french bread into slices, stuffing it with a flavored ricotta cheese filling and soaking it in a flavored egg mixture to make fancy pants french toast.  It calls for oranges but you could substitute your favorite citrus.  We’ve tried tangerines to great effect (I think I like the taste even better than orange).  You can top them with maple syrup, butter that has orange rind in it, confectioner’s sugar or nothing at all.  If you use confectioner’s sugar you can get really extreme and place a stencil or doily on the toast to create a pattern.

You may want to half the recipe if you don’t have guests to feed.  One batch (as shown in the recipe below) makes about 16 pieces of toast and, depending on what else you serve, an adult can eat two pieces.

One last note, I use three tablespoons of sugar in the eggs and six in the filling but the original calls for two and four respectively.  I have a sweet tooth.  What can I say?  I also like eating them plain so that may be part of the reason.  Oh, and I also prefer two teaspoons of orange rind but the original recipe calls for one.

Ricotta-Filled Orange French Toast (Printable PDF)
Makes about 16 pieces of toast – about 8 servings

(2) 10oz loaves french bread
FILLING
6 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese

EGG MIXTURE
6 eggs
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or Brandy (optional)

Cut bread in thick slices (about 2″).  Placing a slice on its side on a cutting board and supporting it from the edges where your hand won’t get cut, cut a pocket into one side of the bread.  Repeat for all other slices.  Mix sugar, vanilla and ricotta cheese to make filling and stuff slices with filling.  Place stuffed toast in (2) 9″ x 13″ pans.  Mix together ingredients for egg mixture and pour over stuffed toast.  Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours but preferably overnight flipping toast over halfway through the soak.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Wrap a cookie sheet in aluminum foil and spray liberally with cooking spray.  Place toast on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden making sure to flip toast halfway through cooking.  If you do not coat the foil with enough spray, the toast will stick.

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