A fresh fruit filling turns this morning favourite into a truly special dish perfect for breakfast, buffets or a holiday brunch.
4 slices (about 1-1/4") challah bread, or your favourite sliced bread
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pitted sweet cherries, quartered
2 tsp granulated sugar
7 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Approximately 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted butter and maple syrup (for serving)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit into each piece of bread through 1 crust, making an interior pocket as large as possible while keeping the 3 other crusts of the bread intact.
Step 3: Spread about 1 tbsp cream cheese inside each pocket. Try not to rip the bread; it's fine to spread the cheese only roughly.
Step 4: Toss together cherries and 2 tsp sugar. Divide cherry mixture among bread pockets.
Step 5: In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 1 tbsp sugar, zest, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour into a shallow dish just large enough to hold the filled breads. Set filled breads in egg mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Carefully flip and immerse second side in egg mixture for 5 minutes. Spoon egg mixture over sides of bread making sure bread is saturated.
Step 6: Remove bread from egg bath. Shake off drips. Place on cookie sheet buttered with 1/4 cup melted butter. Bake 10 minutes. Turn over, adding more butter to pan if needed. Bake 5 minutes or until puffed and golden (or cook in buttered skillet on stove over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side). Serve immediately with butter and syrup.