Each and every single time Tieghan Gerard of the Half Baked Harvest fame posts something, I pretty much want to stop everything I'm doing and make that recipe right then and there! I own both of her cookbooks and pretty much stalk her on social media, waiting for the next new recipe.
I am so happy we will be cooking along with Tieghan at I Heart Cooking Clubs for the next six months because it will give me the push I need to cook some of the recipes I've bookmarked over the years. You see, I bought both of Tieghan's cookbooks and I've pinned tons of her recipes on Pinterest, but I haven't really made any. I'm somewhat of a procrastinator like that. I kinda need a deadline.
I fussed and fussed over which recipe to choose to share first. Tieghan loves burrata cheese and I pretty much live for burrata so at first it was going to be something burrata. Then I was going to make one of her festive and amazing fall cocktails, like this "I Put a Spell On You" Poison Apple Martini (....it's the edible gold glitter for me). I was even tempted to make one of her pasta dishes. But then I got around to looking at her breakfast recipes and well, breakfast is my very favorite.
Everything was making me swoon in total delight, but it's October, and I'm nearing the end of my Fall Break from school, so some celebratory breakfast was in order. Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Cider Syrup....yes, the french toast is stuffed with cream cheese. Yes, it is a total splurge. Yes, it is totally knock-you-out delicious and worth every single last bite.
I made my annual fall trip to Trader Joe's a week or so ago and I bought all the fall things, including a can of pumpkin and their brioche bread. I like to keep that brioche in the freezer for the sole purpose of making french toast. Now, I don't know about you, but I keep apple cider stocked in my fridge all fall season. So I had all the things I needed to make this french toast. I guess it was fate.
I started by making the apple cider syrup. I was a little worried it wouldn't cook down to a syrup consistency but it did. It's so good. I wish I would've doubled the recipe. If you make this, go ahead and double the recipe. I definitely will from now on.
Then I mixed up the custard for the french toast: eggs, milk, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Tieghan says that you can cut into your french toast and stuff it with cream cheese prior to dunking in the custard and frying, but I chose to spread the cream cheese (needs to be room temp) on top of one piece of french toast and then sandwich it with a second piece. Either way, you can't go wrong.
THIS PUMPKIN SPICE FRENCH TOAST WITH CIDER SYRUP WAS INCREDIBLE! It had a lot going on: sweet, tangy, creamy, a little salty, and a little crispety-crunch on the edges. I ate both pieces and then I had to have a third piece. I HIGHLY SUGGEST you make this sometime this season! It's a 10!
Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Cider Syrup
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
by Tieghan Gerard
1 loaf brioche bread, sliced into 1" thick slices
8 ounces cream cheese (optional)
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
butter, for greasing
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons salted butter
Note: You definitely want to double the cider syrup recipe! It is so good! Also, you can cut into your french toast and stuff it with cream cheese, but that is a lot harder than simply spreading it onto one cooked piece of french toast and topping with another. I do it using the later method because I like easy!
For the french toast: If using cream cheese, slice 3/4 of the way through the bread to create room for the cream cheese, leaving the top portion of the bread whole. Gently smear the cream cheese inside, then gently push down to seal. It does not have to be perfect.
In a shallow, medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Dip the stuffed bread into the egg mixture, allowing each side to sit for 1-2 minutes in the egg mixture. The bread can sit in the egg mix up to overnight, if desired (this overnight stuff never works well for me).
When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with butter. When the skillet is hot, cook the bread in batches (do not overcrowd) until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and serve immediately drizzled with the cider syrup.
Cider Syrup: Add the maple syrup and apple cider to a medium size sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half and is syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Keep warm until ready to serve or store in a glass jar and warm over the stove before serving with the french toast.
Welcome Half Baked Harvest!