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Vanilla French Toast with Caramelized Pear Topping

5 October 2009

Vanilla French Toast with Carmelized Pears_102009

I am one of those people who always thinks breakfast is a good idea.  Always.  And I’m not necessarily talking about always eating breakfast sometime before 10:00 am; I love breakfast food any day, any time, anywhere.  Love it.  Last week I stopped by a fruit stand to get some tomatoes and they had delicious smelling pears that were just begging to be taken home.  I picked up three of them and they have sat on my counter ever since, ripening and smelling lovely.  I had all sorts of good intentions to bake them into a streusel or something, but a burst of breakfast inspiration left me craving pears on french toast with vanilla ice-cream.  This was, by far, the most delicious breakfast I’ve had in several weeks (and the healthiest, I’m sure…bread, fruit, milk…ahem).

Vanilla French Toast with Caramelized Pear Topping

Pear Topping:

2 tablespoons butter
3 large ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla

Melt butter in skillet, add pears, sugar and vanilla and simmer over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until pears are tender.  Remove from heat and carefully scoop out pears with slotted spoon and set aside.  Let pears stand for a few minutes and drain any juices back into skillet.  Return sauce to heat and simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until sauce starts to thicken and becomes caramelized.  Remove from heat and set aside.

French Toast:

2 eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of fresh-grated nutmeg.
4 slices of bread (french, challah, whatever)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
vanilla bean ice-cream or whipped cream (or both)

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a shallow dish like a pie plate.  Place bread slices in mixture and let soak for 2 minutes, turn and let soak additional 2 minutes.  Melt butter in large skillet.  Sprinkle soaked bread with brown sugar and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until slightly crispy and firm, be careful not to burn the sugar.

Transfer bread to plate and top with pears, caramel sauce and ice-cream or whipped cream.  Enjoy!

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