Challah French Toast Stuffed with Mango and Ginger Maple Syrup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield:

    4

    servings

Appears in

Fresh breezes wafted scents of tropical plants and fruits for which I had no name in Yiddish.

ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER, “THE IMPRESARIO

I am a pushover for the bracing heat of both fresh and candied ginger. So when I first tasted maple syrup infused with ginger, brainchild of Deep Mountain Farms in Vermont, I knew I had to devise a recipe to showcase it. This French toast, with its mango filling, plays up to the syrup’s fresh, sweet bite.

Maple partners well with spicy hot flavors as I learned from tasting Deep Mountain’s maple candies laced with jalapeño and ginger at New York City’s Union Square Greenmarket. Later I experimented so I could replicate the syrup whenever theirs was not available.

Steeping the ginger for an hour will lend the syrup a warm glow with a bit of heat; longer infusion releases deep, spicy undertones. I like to start the syrup the night before I need it, and prepare the French toast, up to the point of frying, the night before as well.

Ingredients

Ginger Maple Syrup

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

French Toast

  • 1 medium-large ripe, fragrant mango
  • teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices day-old challah, cut about ½ inch thick
  • About 4–8 tablespoons (2–4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • Unsalted butter, for frying

Method

  1. Make the syrup. Combine maple syrup and ginger in a glass jar and cover tightly. Let stand at least 1 hour or as long as overnight at room temperature. Strain before using.
  2. Prepare the French toast. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, peel the mango, then cut it into small cubes. Appearance doesn’t matter here—the mango will be hidden inside the challah. Stir the nutmeg into the mango, and let the flavor meld for a few minutes.
  3. Beat together the eggs, cream, half-and-half, or milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and salt in a shallow bowl until smooth.
  4. Spread a slice of challah with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese (if your challah slice is very large, you may need more cream cheese). Top with one-quarter of the cubed mango, then cover with a second slice of challah. Gently pat the challah sandwich together so it is neat and compact. Repeat with remaining challah, cream cheese, and mango.
  5. Place the stuffed challahs in a baking dish just large enough to accommodate them in one layer (I use a glass 13- by 9-inch baking dish). Pour the egg mixture over them evenly and let soak for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully turn them and allow the other side to absorb the egg mixture for 10 minutes; at this point, you can either cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until the following morning or make them right away.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  7. In a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet, fry the stuffed challahs (two at a time, so you don’t crowd the pan) in sizzling butter until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the mango is hot and bubbling.
  8. Serve the French toast with the syrup—even better when the syrup is warmed.

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