CHERRY CHEESE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
Yield: 50 servings (2 slices French toast and 2 ounces sauce per serving)
French Bread, bias cut -- 1 1/2-inches thick 100 slices
Dried tart cherries -- 8 cups (2 1/3 pounds)
Rum -- 1 quart
Eggs -- 4
Mascarpone cheese -- 2 pounds
Confectioners' sugar -- 1/2 cup
Eggs, beaten -- 8
Milk -- 2 quarts
Vanilla extract -- 1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon -- 2 tablespoons
Grated, nutmeg -- 1 tablespoon
BUTTERED CHERRY SAUCE:
Reserved dried tart cherries -- 4 cups
Butter -- 2 cups (1 pound)
Cherry juice blend -- 2 quarts
Granulated sugar -- 1 cup
Cornstarch -- 1/2 cup
Water -- 1/2 cup
For French toast, cut pockets through the side of each slice of bread.
Combine dried cherries and rum in a large saucepan. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes, or until cherries are soft and rum is almost evaporated. Drain cherries.
Combine 4 eggs, Mascarpone cheese, sugar and 4 cups of cherries in a large bowl; mix well. Reserve remaining 4 cups of cherries for Buttered Cherry Sauce. Spoon cherry-cheese mixture into pockets of bread slices. Cover and chill, if desired.
Prepare egg mixture by combining 8 eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl; mix well.
Pour butter, one tablespoon at a time, onto a preheated 350-degree griddle. Dip stuffed bread slices into egg mixture, then transfer to hot griddle. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to sheet pans. Use more melted butter on griddle, as needed.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 20 minutes, or until bread slices are puffed and filling is hot. Top each slice of French toast with warm Buttered Cherry Sauce.
To prepare Buttered Cherry Sauce, combine the 4 cups of reserved cherries, 1 pound butter, cherry juice blend and sugar in a large saucepan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted.
Combine cornstarch and water; add slowly to hot liquid, whisking constantly while adding. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring often, until thickened. Reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. Serve 2 ounces of sauce over each serving of Cherry Cheese Stuffed French Toast.
Recipe courtesy of the Cherry Marketing Institute