Berries and Ricotta French Toast

1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Zest from 1 lemon (about 3 teaspoons)
8 slices brioche or challah bread (about 3/4-inch thick)
2 cups heavy cream
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 cups fresh mixed berries
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Whipped cream, for serving
Pure maple syrup, for serving

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the lemon zest. Spread the ricotta evenly on one side of each bread slice, then close to form four sandwiches.

In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the eggs, cinnamon and cardamom. Pour the mixture into a large shallow baking pan and soak the sandwiches for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the berries with the sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook until warmed through and juicy, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Remove two sandwiches from the baking pan and cook until warmed through and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sandwiches.

Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and divide among four serving plates. Top with the whipped cream, reserved berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve immediately.


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