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French toast of the moment

Recipe Included

A reader recently and fellow rhubarb lover asked me to share this recipe for fruit-filled French toast. It's easy to put together fast, especially when you make the rhubarb sauce filling in advance.

I serve this sprinkled with confectioners' sugar instead of syrup.

For a red rhubarb filling, you'll need to use deep-red stalks. My homegrown rhubarb has greenish stalks tinged with red, so the filling comes out on the greenish side. It tastes just as good, but the color is, well. . . .

MAKE AHEAD: The rhubarb filling can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

-- Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, who writes the Food section's weekly Nourish column.

Baked French Toast With Rhubarb
6 servings

For the filling
8 ounces trimmed rhubarb stalks, large ones cut in half lengthwise, each cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the French toast
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
12 slices firm white sandwich bread
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups whole or low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling

For the filling: Combine the rhubarb and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the zest and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is completely soft.

Combine the orange juice and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring until the cornstarch dissolves. Add the mixture to the pot; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.

For the French toast: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use the butter to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Arrange 6 slices of the bread in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Trim to fit if necessary. Sprinkle the slices with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Spoon the filling over the slices; use a small spatula or round-edged knife to spread it evenly. Top with the remaining 6 slices of the bread, then sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture evenly over the layered french toast, pressing down gently to help the bread absorb any excess liquid. Let it sit for 5 to 15 minutes or until the egg mixture has been absorbed by the bread. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top has puffed up a little, is firm and has begun to brown.

Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar; serve hot.

Per serving: 370 calories, 13 g protein, 58 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 220 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 29 g sugar

By The Food Section  |  May 20, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl , Recipes  | Tags: Flour Girl, recipes, rhubarb  
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