Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast

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The first known written reference to French toast is in the Latin recipe collection known as th Apicius, dating back to the 4th or 5th century.  That recipe involved bread soaked in milk, but no egg, and is simply called aliter dulcia, meaning   “another sweet dish.”  Since then, it has gone by many names, including “Arme Ritter”  (German for “poor knights”), “tostées dorées” (“golden toast”),  “pain perdu,” “Pavese,” and “pain doré.”  Versions of French toast were made throughout the Middle Ages in Europe, sometimes as an accompaniment to game birds.

I am not exaggerating when I say that in my opinion, cheesecake is one of the greatest inventions of humankind, which is why using cheesecake influence to use up stale bread inspired me to create this particular recipe.  It can be made with either fresh blueberries or with a blueberry compote and is equally delicious either way.

Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast

Ingredients

1 loaf day old bread (you will need approximately 8 slices of sandwich-sized bread)
1 cup cream cheese, softened
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen or 2 cups blueberry compote (recipe at end)
1 egg
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter (be generous here)

Directions

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until sugar granules dissolve. Spread cream cheese on half the bread slices.  If using fresh blueberries, sprinkle blueberries on top of cream cheese and then sandwich with the remaining bread slices.

Whisk the egg, milk, cream and cinnamon.

Heat a non-stick fry pan over low-medium heat and add a generous pat of butter. Dip sandwiches into the egg mixture for about 20-30 seconds on each side and then fry, being careful not to let the butter burn.  Cook  for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serve topped with maple syrup or blueberry compote.  A quick blueberry compote can be made by simmering 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries with 3 tablespoons of water, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of sugar over medium heat until syrupy.

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