Cranberry Stuffed French Toast with Minted Whipped Cream and Cranberry “Sauce”
By Stephanie Snipes
4 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1 TBS. fresh lemon juice
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4-6 fresh mint leaves
1 cup heavy cream
4-6 fresh mint leaves
3 TBS powdered sugar
1 loaf challah bread
3 egg yolks
1 ½ cups milk
3 TBS. brown sugar
1 TBS. vanilla
2 TBS butter, melted
2 TBS butter (for pan)
To Make Cranberry “Sauce”: Combine cranberries, sugar, salt and water in a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to medium and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve reserving the liquid in a small bowl. Add lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
To Make Cream Cheese Filling: Place boiled cranberries in a food processor and blend until they form a paste. Combine ¼ - ½ of cranberry paste, the softened cream cheese and a pinch of salt and mix well (start with ¼ cup and taste. Add additional cranberry to desired flavor). Place cream cheese mixture in a piping bag (or zipper top bag) and place in fridge until you’re ready to use it.
To Make Powdered Sugar: Combine powdered sugar and mint in a food processor and blend until well combined. Set aside.
To Make Whipped Cream: Combine heavy cream and mint leaves in a heavy bottom pot. Bring to just a simmer and then take cream off heat. Let mint steep in hot liquid for 15 minutes. Remove mint leaves and put cream in a bowl. Set in refrigerator until cold (this can be done a day ahead). Before serving French toast whip the cream. Combine cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high until medium peaks form.
To Make French Toast: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Slice challah bread into 1 ½ inch slices (one loaf should give you 5-6 slices). Place bread on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool until room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Once cool use a paring knife to slice through the bottom crust of each piece of bread horizontally. This will create a pocket to hold your cream cheese. Get the cream cheese from the fridge and snip the end of the piping bag (or corner of zipper bag) and squeeze about 2 TBS of filling into each piece of bread. Set aside.
In a 9x13 glass dish combine the milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, vanilla, butter and a pinch of salt. Whisk until combined. Melt 2 TBS of butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Take the stuffed bread and soak each side in the custard mixture for 20-25 seconds. Place in hot pan and cook until golden brown on each side. (You may have to do this in 2 batches. If so, you can put finished French toast in a 200 degree oven to keep warm until you’re finished).
To Serve: Place a piece of the French toast on a plate and sprinkle on some of the mint powdered sugar. Top with cranberry “sauce” and a dollop of whipped cream. Add some fresh mint to garnish.
Lamb and Mint Meatballs with Cranberry Mint Tomato Sauce
By Dani Siegel
1 loaf of challah bread
2lbs ground lamb
2 TBS dried minced onion
1/2 cup challah breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
3 TBS chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 TBS chopped and smashed fresh garlic
Zest from 1 medium Meyer lemon
Cranberry Tomato Sauce
10 ounces dried cranberries
2 cups water
2 fresh mint leaves, whole
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
Juice of 1 medium Meyer lemon
1 tsp. chopped fresh mint
1/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder
For the breadcrumbs: Preheat oven to 375. Slice challah and toast in the oven for 7 minutes. Pulse pieces in the food processor until you have broken up the large chunks. Spread back out onto a sheet pan and bake for another 7 minutes. Pulse the crumbs through the food processor again and store in an air tight container.
For the meatballs: Mix all ingredients together, form into 12 large meatballs and place in a single layer in a casserole dish. Set aside.
For the sauce: In a small sauce pan, simmer the cranberries, water and whole mint leaves until the cranberries are plump and soft. 20-30 minutes. Cool the mixture and puree in the food processor until smooth. This should make about 2 cups of puree.
Separately saute the onions in olive oil or butter until they begin to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Mix in the tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups of the cranberry puree and simmer for another 5 minutes, until well combined. Add the lemon juice, mint, rosemary and chipotle powder. Simmer another 5 minutes and remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs in the casserole dish, spooning it over to make sure each meatball is coated in sauce.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes, ensuring that the meatballs cook to 160 degrees. My handy Thermapen made sure these were cooked perfectly!
Serve in a bowl with plenty of sauce and toasted challah for mopping up the sauce. It would be yummy and even more hearty served over polenta!