This decadent breakfast is what happens when you take french toast and dress it up with Neufchâtel cheese, almond paste and fresh grapes. Enjoy!
1 long baguette (or day-old artisan bread)
1/4 cup almond paste
8 oz. Neufchâtel cheese
1 cup quartered red California seedless grapes
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt (optional)
2 teaspoons butter or vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 cup water
1/4 cup toasted almonds (optional)
Slice the bread, cutting through the bottom crust only every other cut, to form a pocket of two thin slices of bread connected at the base with the crust.
With a mixer, blend the almond paste with 1/4 cup of the cheese until smooth. Add the remainder of the cheese and mix well. Stir in the grapes with a spoon so they are not bruised. Set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar and salt in a pie plate or shallow dish.
In a small saucepan, melt together the marmalade and the water. Simmer until just syrupy. Keep warm.
Spoon a good amount of the grape filling into the prepared bread pockets, smooth to the edges and press lightly to flatten. Continue with the remaining bread and filling.
Heat a griddle to medium heat and lightly grease with butter or oil. Dip bread in the egg mixture and turn to coat lightly. Fry the French toast slowly, about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown on the outside and just warmed through. Keep finished toast warm in a 200 F oven while cooking the remaining toast. Serve warm with syrup and a sprinkling of almonds, if desired.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 340; Protein 11 g; Carbohydrate 36 g; Fat 18 g; Saturated Fat 9 g; 46% Calories from Fat; Cholesterol 147 mg; Sodium 264 mg; Fiber 1 g.