Yeahhhhh… this was pretty much amazing. I was trying to come up with something to do with my leftover challah that was a few days old. Later I ran across some extra pumpkin I had leftover from another foodie project. The light bulb just exploded in my head. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast. Perfect.
Oh jeez, where to start with this recipe! Well, firstly, you don’t have to use homemade challah, obviously, like I did. Go ahead and pick some up from a bakery or grocer. Or if you can find brioche, that works well too. Plain white bread really can’t handle this kind of thing. Sorry, but it just can’t come to the party, you’re going to have to find yourself some challah or brioche.
There are a couple tricks I used with this recipe to really make it shine. All are optional, but highly recommend for optimal stuffed cream cheese french toast goodness! Stale bread is the best thing to use to soak up a custard. It doesn’t turn soggy and squished. It better absorbs the custard and retains its shape basically. I went a step further and dried my slice out in the oven. I think it made a huge difference. Also, the custard recipe I used includes flour. This is to make the custard more sturdy. Again, no soggy and squishy french toast, please. I like to cut a thick piece of bread and make a pocket in the center of one side to stuff the filling into. I think it holds it better. But! You can also slice the bread into 1/2″ slice and build the stuffed french toast like a sandwich, spreading the filling completely on one side of bread, covering it with the other and then soaking it in the custard. To me that isn’t stuffed french toast though. It’s just cream cheese sandwich french toast really….right?
The cream cheese mixture is pretty basic. Just make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature and nice and soft. That’ll help to make the mixture nice and smooth so you don’t have any cream cheese clumps hanging around.
I find that mixing the custard in a pie plate makes things easy when you get to soaking the bread, it’s the perfect size and depth. Be sure to mix all the wet ingredients before adding in the flour. It’ll ensure that everything combines nicely.
To stale the bread out in the oven you want to spread the bread slices on a sheet pan and place them in a 325 degree F oven for about 8 minutes per side. Do NOT allow the bread to brown! You don’t want to toast the bread, you just want to dry it out so that it acts like a sponge with the custard. If you are planning on making thicker slices with a pocket of filling, be sure to make the pocket before you stale the bread.
If the breads been staled in the oven it will probably crack where the slit is when you go to fill it. This shouldn’t matter as long as it’s not all the way down the side. A small tear should mend itself when in the skillet. Just be careful when opening the slit to fill it- be gentle.
Now doesn’t that look like something you would be served up at a Bistro Breakfast?? It belongs in one for sure. It was incredible. I give myself props for coming up with the idea when faced with leftover challah and pumpkin.
ohhhhhh look at the gooey, pumpkin-cream cheesey goodness!
This is perfect. Just perfect.
You know you want to experience the perfection too.
Come on, treat yourself…!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
- 4 (1″) slices challah bread
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 eggs
- 4 Tb butter, melted
- 1½ cups milk, room temperature
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 Tb granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup flour
- ½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Create a pocket in the challah slices by slicing into the center from one side. Place challah slices on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 8 minutes. Flip the bread over and bake for another 8 minutes. This will JUST dry out the bread, there should be no browning. Take slices off baking sheet on to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, smooth out cream cheese in a small bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix in pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
In a shallow dish, mix together eggs, butter, milk, vanilla extract, sugar. Whisk in the flour and salt. Stuff the bread with the filling.
Soak the bread without over saturating, about 40 seconds per side; repeat with the remaining slices. Swirl 1 tablespoon butter in the hot skillet. Transfer the prepared bread to the skillet in a single layer; cook until golden brown, about 1 minute 45 seconds on the first side and 1 minute on the second. Serve the French toast immediately. Continue, adding 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet for each new batch.
I like to melt the butter in a small skillet then add the milk to warm that up as well before mixing up the custard. If the milk is too cold when it hits the butter, the butter will form solid particles. Not what you want to see happen.