Friday, February 15, 2008

Get some use out of that frozen fruit!

So Jeff has this texture issue... anything that is mushy or too soft, he tends to not like all that well. If it has good flavor, he can usually get past that, but sometimes that is just not enough. I'm not bothered by those textures, so I happen to love recipes like bread puddings or different stratas. However, I do my best to pick out or modify recipes where the end result will be something he can completely enjoy.

When I was describing what tonight's dinner, Triple-Berry French Toast, was going to be, I got the famous half-cracked smile and heard "Oh... that sounds interesting!" as he walked away. I had a feeling the texture was going to be fine and just continued on with my own silly little grin.

This is a great way to clean out those frozen berries lounging out in your freezer - we used a combination of frozen blueberries (I used tiny wild), blackberries and those fantastic raspberries from Mom's garden we got last year. The berries are sweetened with sugar and tossed with cornstarch to help thicken the dark juices that will expel as they baked... a tip - save yourself a bowl to clean and mix the ingredients right in the baking dish! Adding an intoxicating aroma to this layer is a teaspoon of sweet cinnamon - we used our favorite pungent Extra Fancy Vietnamese from Penzeys.

To try and achieve a firmer texture, I used a French baguette that we let get a little stale - a loaf-style French bread would also work well. The original recipe called for slices of bread, but I cubed it up to make life a little easier. A couple eggs and egg whites, mixed with milk and vanilla, create the liquid used to soak and soften the cubes. Right before the dish goes into the oven, a sprinkling of granulated sugar is added to the top. As this bakes, the chunky berries release their juices and since the bread was not overloaded with that eggy mixture, the bread begins to drink in some of their sweet flavor. The top layer, with its cracks and crevices, achieved a lovely golden color and crisped up well - the side touching the berries was a little soft, yet was not mushy at all as someone feared (wink!). Since you don't need to let the bread soak for hours and hours, this would be a great brunch-type dish to effortlessly throw together on a lazy weekend morning. Finished with a shower of confectioners' sugar, I knew this was a hit when I caught Jeff licking his plate clean as he brought it to the sink - score!


  1. That sounds amazing. Almost like a bread and butter pudding only you have replaced the custard with beeries - yum!

  2. This looks great. I did a freezer clean-out yesterday and found two 1/2 bags of berries. I think I'll make it for Sunday morning breakfast tomorrow. You always have such great ideas.

  3. Katie - Thank you!

    Cathy - I hope you got a chance to make this!