Apple Walnut French Toast

Apple Walnut French Toast

1/2 pk cream cheese (8 oz)
1 med Granny Smith apple peeled, quartered, and cored
2/3 cup Finely chopped walnuts
3 tbl Light-brown sugar
1 1/2 tbl Butter
5 tbl Plus 1/2 C sugar
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Heavy cream
1 tbl Applejack or brandy
1/8 tsp Ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground mace
4 3/4 x Inch slices challah or brioche
2 tsp Lemon juice
Fresh mint sprigs, (opt.)

Make cream-cheese spread: In food processor fitted with chopping blade, process cream cheese, 2 apple quarters, 2 T walnuts, and the brown sugar until pureed. Refrigerate until ready to use on the toast.

Make walnut brittle: In small sauce-pan, melt 1/2 T butter over low heat. Stir in 2 T walnuts and 5 T sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar caramelizes or turns golden brown-about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour mixture onto lightly greased baking sheet. Let cool completely. Break into pieces when cool.

Make French toast: Heat oven to 350’F. In medium bowl, combine eggs, 1/2 C heavy cream, the applejack, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, and remaining walnuts. Soak bread in mixture, turning to coat both sides of slices. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make caramel sauce: In small saucepan, over medium-low heat, cook remaining 1/2 C sugar and the lemon juice until sugar caramelizes or turns golden. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in remaining 1/4 C heavy cream until well mixed. Keep sauce warm over low heat.

In large skillet, melt 1/2 T butter; add bread slices and cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer slices to a baking sheet. Cut slices in half diagonally. Divide cream-cheese spread evenly among the slices.

Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese spread is warm. Meanwhile, thinly slice remaining apple quarters. In same skillet, melt remaining butter and saute apple slices.

To serve, pour caramel sauce onto 2 plates. Place 4 half-slices French toast diagonally on each plate and top with sauteed apple slices. Sprinkle walnut brittle over top. Garnish plates with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.

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