This impressive main, perfect for brunch, can be made entirely ahead of time and reheated when guests arrive. For a vegetarian version, you can replace the bacon or pancetta with 1 cup of sliced, sauteed mushrooms or other chopped, cooked and seasoned vegetables.
1 ½ cups whole milk
Pinch of salt
1 loaf brioche or egg bread, sliced 1” thick
16 oz full fat cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz bacon or pancetta, cooked and crumbled
1 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped chives
2 tbsp heavy cream
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a wide shallow bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the custard and set aside.
With a pairing or butter knife, create a hole at the side of each slice of bread, move your knife back and forth to make a bigger pocket in the bread.
In another bowl, combine all filling ingredients and mix until combined. Use a piping bag or sandwich bag to pipe in the filling into the prepared bread.
Dip each sandwich into the prepared custard for a few seconds, do not allow bread to get soggy. Let excess custard drip off bread and place in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
One hour before serving, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Remove plastic wrap from tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bread looks golden brown and crispy. Flip halfway through baking.
Optional: Once French toast is flipped, you may broil for an additional 5 minutes.
Allow French toast to stand for 5 minutes, to allow filling to settle. Slice in half diagonally, and serve with fresh lemon, grainy mustard and a green salad.
Servings: Makes 4-6 servings
approx. Per Serving