Is it French toast; is it a sweet grilled cheese; is it a Monte Cristo, is it a fritter? I suppose it could be all four depending on how far you want to bend culinary classifications: Italian toast, filled with citrus mascarpone cheese, dipped in egg batter and pan fried, then drizzled with vanilla-kissed maple syrup. - dawnviola
Test Kitchen Notes
The mascarpone stuffing is creamy and lovely, a bit sweet and orange-scented. The final dish is tasty and rich, perfect for serving at a brunch party. - Emily —The Editors
1 cup Grade B dark amber pure maple syrup
1 Vanilla bean, split in half, and seeds scraped
8 slices Italian bread
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature (for the skillet)
Organic Powdered sugar for dusting
2 tablespoons Heavy cream
Zest of 2 Clementines
1 Vanilla bean, split in half, and seeds scraped (use other half for filling)
1 teaspoon Organic sugar
1 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons Organic powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon Amaretto liquor
Zest of 1 Clementine, tangerine, navel orange, or grapefruit
In a small sauce pan, heat the maple syrup with scraped vanilla bean on low. Do not boil.
Make the batter:
In a pie dish, whisk together the eggs, cream, zest, vanilla bean seeds and sugar. Set aside
Make the filling:
In a bowl, combine Mascarpone, powdered sugar, orange juice concentrate, Amaretto liquor, zest and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
Make the fritters: Cut the crust off the slices of bread. Lay 4 of the bread slices on a baking sheet, in a row. Add 1/4 of the Mascarpone mixture to each slice of bread. Top with other slice of bread to make a sandwich.
Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and coat entire pan. Working quickly, dip all sides of each sandwich in the egg mixture to coat.
Add each sandwich to the pan and cook until golden. Adjust heat as needed to brown, but prevent burning. When the first side is golden, flip the sandwich. Add more butter to the pan if needed for browning.
Remove any sandwiches from the heat that may have finished browning before the others, place on a baking sheet and slide into a warm oven until the other sandwiches are ready.
Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with citrus wedges and warm vanilla maple syrup for dunking.