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Cherry Mascarpone French Toast

This breakfast take on cherries is so classy, you may feel a bit underdressed in your pj’s. It’s one of local food critic Patty LaNoue Stearns’s Cherry Home Companion cookbook favorites, and comes courtesy of Latitude Restaurant’s Chef Rich. “I’ve made this several times, and it turns out so beautifully,” says Stearns. “Elegant and simple.”

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf white bread, cut into cubes
  • 4 C. frozen cherries, rinsed and drained
  • 16 oz. Mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 C. sugar, divided
  • 2 t. vanilla, divided
  • 1/2 C. sour cream
  • 1/2 loaf French bread
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 1/2 C. half & half
  • 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 C. sliced almonds, toasted

Preparation

Place cubes of white bread into a greased 9-x-13-inch pan. Spread cherries over the bread. Add 1/2 C. sugar, 1 t. of the vanilla and sour cream to cheese. Spread over cherries. Cut 10 1-inch-thick slices of French bread. Place slices over cheese mixture. In a small bowl, beat eggs well and add remaining 1/2 C. sugar, 1 t. of vanilla, milk, and half & half and beat again. Pour egg mixture over bread slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350º. Bake covered for 40–50 minutes and uncover for the last 10 minutes or so to brown slightly. Let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds before cutting. Serves 12 as breakfast; up to 20 as dessert.

Wine pairing: Off Dry Sparkling