Monday, February 6, 2012

Poached Pears Over French Toast

Everything about French toast fills me with happiness.  The Challah bread, the cinnamon, the vanilla, and...the SYRUP.  I absolutely love all foods with syrup...well sugar in general; however, my husband is not a huge fan.  "Sugar juice" is just a little too sweet for his taste.  I thought if I made my own syrup and cut it with something less sweet, I could perhaps make something to his liking.  Since I usually use a little orange juice in my French toast mixture, I thought it was just the right ingredient to add to syrup.  In my opinion, it was perfect...husband said it was still sweet, but much improved from the store bought junk.  

If you are not familiar, Challah bread is the ideal bread for French toast.  It is a yeast-risen egg bread that is typically braided using multiple "strands" of dough, and it is often served at many Jewish holidays.  The dense consistency perfectly soaks up and holds the egg mixture used in French toast.  The kind I bought from Trader Joe's also has a light honey flavor that is simply divine.  This is the kind of bread that carboholics LIVE for.  If you aren't sure what to do with the remaining loaf it is wonderful as cinnamon toast and also the classic sandwich of peanut butter and bananas.

The below brunch pairs nicely with a crisp mimosa.  

Poached Pears over French Toast
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Poached Pear Ingredients
2 pears (1 cored and sliced in half; 1 sliced into smaller bite size pieces)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
Palm full of raisins
Orange Zest (use a navel orange - see the bottom of the post for why)
5-7 whole cloves
Take the orange zest from the bottom of the navel orange...
Poached Pear Directions
1. Heat water and sugar in a 2-3 quart pan until boiling to dissolve sugar.
2. Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer about 30 minutes until pears are tender.

Homemade Syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses

Homemade Syrup Directions
1. In a sauce pan combine sugars, water and corn syrup and bring to boil over medium high heat.  Boil for 5-7 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Return to medium heat for another 3-5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and allow 5-10 minutes before serving.
Challah Bread, Raisins, Cinnamon Sticks

French Toast Ingredients
4 - 1 inch thick slices Challah bread
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

French Toast Directions
1. Mix all ingredients except bread and butter in a medium size bowl.
2. Soak each slice of bread approximately 30 seconds on each side in mixture.
3. Melt butter in large frying pan and fry each slice of soaked bread approximately 4 minutes on each side - until it begins to brown.
4. Serve with poached pears and homemade syrup.

So that navel orange I told you to use for the orange zest...this makes a subtle room fragrance.  Simply stuff a few whole cloves into the "navel" of the orange and place in a small dish.  It will bring a light fragrance to your kitchen for a couple weeks...discard when the orange starts to get too soft or the skin begins to discolor.
Navel Orange with Cloves
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