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Lemon Ricotta Stuffed French Toast with Blueberry Sauce
This is a great recipe for rescuing bread that has been kicking around the freezer a little too long—giving bread a new life was the traditional function of what the French call pain perdue or ‘lost bread’. Not only does it use up old bread, but you can make a delicious accompanying sauce from a bag of frozen blueberries.
Prep 10 mins
8 slices frozen bread, defrosted 4 large eggs
200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) milk
200g (7oz) ricotta
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1½ tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar, plus extra to dust unsalted butter, for cooking
For the sauce
250g (9oz) frozen blueberries
2 tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar
freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon (use the one you have zested for the filling)
You can use any bags of berries you have in the freezer – they don’t have to be blueberries, although they do go well with the lemony filling. You also don’t have to go to the trouble of stuffing the bread with ricotta, if you don’t want to. Simply follow the recipe and cook the slices separately and serve with the berry sauce – it will still be delicious.
Will it re-freeze?
I wouldn’t recommend it for this. These are definitely best cooked fresh.
Lay the bread slices out in a single layer in a shallow dish(or two). In a jug, beat together the eggs and milk, then pour it all over the bread slices. Turn them over in the mixture to make sure they are all evenly coated, then leave them for 10–15 minutes for the egg to completely soak in.
Meanwhile, make the filling for the toast by beating together the ricotta, lemon zest and icing sugar until smooth.
To make the sauce, put the blueberries in a saucepan with the icing sugar and lemon juice. Cook over a gentle heat until the berries have defrosted and let out their juice, and that juice has begun to thicken again. You can leave the pan over a gentle heat while you cook the toast, stirring occasionally.
By now, the bread should have absorbed all of the egg mixture. Divide the lemony filling between four of the bread slices, spreading it out over the slices but leaving a 1cm (½in) clear border around the edge. Top those four slices with the remaining bread to make ricotta sandwiches.
Melt a little butter in a non-stick frying pan over low–medium heat and add one of the sandwiches to the pan. Leave the sandwich to cook for 3–4 minutes, or until the bottom of the bread is a golden colour. Press down gently with a spatula to flatten and seal the sandwich as it cooks. Once the sandwich is golden, flip it over and cook for the same amount of time on the other side.
Dust the top of the sandwich with a little icing sugar (try and keep it on the bread and not in the pan or it will burn). Flip it over and cook for 20–30 seconds until it has melted. Dust the other side, flip and cook again for a few seconds until you have a caramelized crust on both sides.
Remove the sandwich from the pan, slice it in half diagonally and top with a little blueberry sauce to serve. Give the pan a quick wipe with a piece of kitchen paper and repeat the process until all the sandwiches are cooked. There’s no call for courtesy here – eat them hot and fresh out the pan rather than waiting until all the sandwiches are cooked – they are much better that way.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.