There’s something about that first brisk nip in the air that shouts to my appetite that fall is on the way. And when that happens I think about baking. And when that happens I think about cinnamon, fall fruits, and caramel – not necessarily in that order. Put them together and you get a Baked, Stuffed French Toast filled with Roasted Pears and topped with a Salted Caramel Sauce. (That in and of itself is quite a mouthful. I will have to put more work into the title of this recipe for fear of boring you to tears before you even read it) My friend Ann-Marie is coming to visit for a few days next week. She is a tiny little thing, but has an appetite like a lumberjack. This should do the trick. Come along with me and we’ll make a batch together. First we’ll wash up some Bartlett Pears. These guys are just ripe, but feel free to use pears that are a little under-ripe and firm if you want.
This is an easy recipe to assemble, and in that vein we shall not peel the pears. Just cut down from the stem end, then slice like this:
See there? Easy as pie. You’ll need about 10 good sized pears for this recipe. Slice 8 and save 2 for later to slice for the top. Lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little Canola or other neutral oil and some Agave, Honey, or Sugar. Your call.
Roast them until softened, a little caramelized, and it smells so good you can barely stand it.
Set them aside to cool for a few minutes while to tend to the rest of this undertaking. Slice up some bread – really any kind you like. I used a grocery store ‘artisan’ loaf for this because I wanted something firm enough to stand up to the custard mixture when all was said and done. Layer it onto the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.
Grab your pears and make a big fat layer over the top of the bread. No need to save any back – this is their moment.
Sprinkle with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon..
And add another layer of sliced bread on top.
At this point you will pour the custard mixture over the top of this, but I was so wrapped up in all of this I forgot to take a photo. You catch my drift anyway, I’m sure. As a finishing touch and to make it all pretty, thinly slice a couple of pears lengthwise and arrange over the top. At this point I like to spritz it with some Canola oil and give it a dusting of cinnamon and sugar. Into the oven she goes..
Slice it up so everybody gets a pear on top. This is my friend John minus his head. He is cutting this particular dish up for our Garden to Table Cooking Class. This is why he is wearing gloves. He is not normally a neat freak.
Here’s the rest of him.
And here’s the rest of the French Toast, drizzled with Salted Caramel Sauce. Now we’re talking.
Would you like a piece? Dive on in!!
HAPPY FALL EVERYONE!! xoxoxoxo
- FRENCH TOAST
- 1, 1 pound loaf of bread
- 2 cups milk, half-and-half, or whipping cream (or a combination)
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1-teaspoon cinnamon
- 10 pears, ripe but still firm
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
- ½ cup butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Spray a 13x9 inch-baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and slice EIGHT of the pears (no need to peel). Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle the pears with agave nectar and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast about 45 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together until combined. Set aside.
- Slice bread into about ½ inch slices, and lay enough down to cover the bottom of the baking dish.
- Arrange the roasted pears over the top of the bread. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the pears.
- Add another layer of sliced bread.
- Pour milk/egg mixture over the top. Press down firmly to make sure all bread has been soaked in the mixture.
- Thinly slice the remaining 2 pears lengthwise (no need to remove core). Lay on top of the casserole. Cover firmly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake French toast for approximately 30 minutes or until custard is set.
- Remove from heat and drizzle with Salted Caramel Sauce.
- CARAMEL SAUCEIn large saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour and brown sugar. Slowly stir in heavy cream, and cook until thickened over medium heat – let mixture come to a boil to cook off any raw flour taste.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Serve warm, or sauce can be chilled and reheated in the microwave.
- Caramel Sauce Adapted from The New Ark Cookbook