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Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast

Recipe by Innkeeper Shelley Sharp. Photos by Lindsey Smith. Published on June 13th, 2018.

Ingredients

FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:

  • One large loaf fresh bread (I use our homemade oat bread)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-tbs real vanilla extract
  • 1-tbs orange extract
  • 1-tbs maple extract
  • 1-dozen farm fresh eggs
  • 2-cups milk of your choice (I like to use ½ cup cream & 1.5 cups whole milk OR ½ cup coconut crème & 1.5 cups almond/coconut milk)
  • ½-cup blue agave sweetener (white sugar works too)
  • 1-cup raisins or currants (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped or slivered almonds (no need to toast)
  • 8-tbs butter; melted (or coconut oil for non-dairy option)
  • ¼-cup turbinado sugar (Sugar-in-the-Raw)
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Sliced strawberries for garnish
  • Canola or vegetable oil cooking spray

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2-cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2-cups fresh or frozen whole strawberries
  • 1-cup water
  • 2-tbs corn starch
  • 1/4-cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-tbs real vanilla extract
  • ½-cup orange marmalade or apricot preserves
  • 1-cup real maple syrup

Method

FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Pulse whole almonds in a food processor until course (not necessary with slivered almonds)
  • Slice bread, then cut into ¼ inch cubes; place in a large bowl with room to spare
  • In a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs, salt, pie spice, extracts, milk, and sweetener with a whisk until well mixed
  • Pour wet mixture over bread and thoroughly incorporate (I use my hands); make sure there is plenty of egg mixture for the bread to soak up (if it’s a little runny, that’s okay. If it’s dry, add a little more milk)
  • If adding any dried fruit, do it now and mix until evenly distributed
  • Melt butter in microwave or stovetop
  • Spray 9×12 baking dish with cooking spray; pour ½ of the melted butter directly over the spray and swirl until it coats the pan
  • Pour bread and egg mixture in the pan and distribute evenly (don’t press down)
  • Pour remaining butter over the mixture, top evening with almonds and sprinkle with sugar
  • Bake for 30 minutes; test center to make sure eggs are cooked, then reduce heat for another 10 minutes or so, if needed

Note: Can be made the night before, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. In the morning, bring to room temperature one hour before baking.

FOR THE SAUCE:

Place cut rhubarb and strawberries in heavy cooking sauce pan. Add the water and set on a low setting on the stovetop. When heated through, add cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Add the vinegar, spices, vanilla – continue to heat on low. Approximately 20 minutes before serving, add marmalade and maple syrup. Continue heating on a low temperature.

Note: Sauce can be made up to three days in advance; refrigerated, then heated on low in a saucepan while French toast is baking.

Serving

Serves 8. Remove French toast from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares or slices making sure to insert a knife along the sides of the pan to prevent sticking. With a thin metal spatula, place a piece of French toast on each plate and ladle sauce over. Top with sprinkled confectioner’s sugar and fresh strawberries. If you want something a bit more decadent, fresh whipped crème and almonds are great too. For a fresh herbal bite – top with a sprig of basil leaves.

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