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Ricotta-stuffed French toast with pears and chestnut honey

Recipe by:Chef/owner David LeFevre
Manhattan Beach Post (MB Post), Manhattan Beach

Ingredients

  • Custard base
    2 cups cream
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • Stuffed brioche
    1/2 cup ricotta cheese
    Zest of 1 lemon
    8 slices brioche bread
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, clarified
  • Pear topping
    2 Bartlett pears
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    1/4 cup chestnut honey (see note)
    Fresh whipped cream, optional

Directions

For custard base: Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk until evenly mixed. Set aside.

For stuffed brioche: Mix ricotta with lemon zest and spread evenly on the 8 slices of brioche. Make 4 sandwiches with the cheese on the inside. Soak sandwiches in custard base for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the moisture of the bread (the more moist the bread, the less soaking time). In a nonstick pan over medium heat, sauté one of the stuffed, soaked sandwiches in one-quarter of the clarified butter until golden brown on both sides, making sure the interior is warm. Repeat with all sandwiches. Reserve on a cookie sheet in a warm oven.

For pear topping (make ahead): Peel, halve and core pears. Gently warm pears in butter in a frying pan. Add honey and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Set aside.

To serve: Top browned French toast with pear topping, 1/2 pear per portion. Finish with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: A small amount of chestnut honey, with its pungent, savory flavors, goes a long way. It's available in specialty markets. You may substitute other strong, dark honeys such as buckwheat.

Serves 4

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