Last night as I was out to dinner with friends, the subject of compotes came up and as you would have it, out of the blue -- one of my friends began describing the most amazing cherry compote she had tasted which was mixed with cream cheese. Of course, this got me to thinking and this morning I woke up (obsessive-food-maniac-that-I-am) with this recipe swirling in my head...=) Afternote: Per Bon Apetite's "French Toast Tips" featured this week on Food52 -- you can also "soak the bread overnight in the fridge so it can sop up the egg and milk mixture. Arrange the bread slices in a shallow baking dish in a single layer, and be sure to turn the bread at least once."
This rich, eggy French toast is very decadent. The little bit of cream cheese and cherry compote are great toppings with well-balanced sweet and tart flavors. I'd make it for a special weekend breakfast. - Stephanie —The Editors
for the French toast:
2 Brioche buns – sliced about 1 inch thick
a capful of vanilla extract
seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean - scraped out (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
splash of heavy cream
Butter for sautéing.
for the cream cheese mixture:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons honey
zest from one-half a lemon
for the (sour) cherries:
1 pound sour or regular cherries – pitted
¼ cup sugar (1/2 cup if using sour cherries)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (omit if using sour cherries)
Place (sour) cherries in saucepan with sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook down for 45 minutes until cherries are softened – adding more water if necessary – you should have a nice reduced cherry compote, with sauce that is thickened around it.
Whip cream cheese w/ honey and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds (if using), sugar and heavy cream in medium bowl. Pour into shallow dish. Dip brioche slices into egg until well coated. Heat butter in skillet or griddle until drop of water splashed in immediately sizzles and then disappears. When griddle/pan is ready, place brioche French toast in pan and sauté until golden brown. Flip and griddle other side as well.
Remove to plate and place a dollop of cream cheese and a spoonful of compote on each brioche. Enjoy!