Shiitake Stuffed Baked French Toast


GISELE PEREZ

Photo by Gisele Perez

Photo by Gisele Perez

I happen to love a lazy weekend brunch, whether dining at a restaurant or entertaining at home.

The menu for this meal can be quite versatile, as it’s spanning breakfast and lunch. If you lean more towards breakfast and eggs, it can be a very reasonably priced meal, too. Or if you want to splurge – crab cakes, poached salmon, or even cold sliced filet of beef with flavored mayonnaises served with plenty of homemade buttermilk biscuits would be a great option, too.

And then there’s a perfect excuse to indulge in icy Mimosas. What could be better than that?

A couple of years back, Jarlsberg asked if I would create a summer brunch menu showcasing their cheese. One of the dishes I came up with was this wonderful Shiitake Stuffed Baked French Toast. A big advantage – most of the work is done ahead of time.

Ah- and as for the Mimosas, use fresh squeezed orange juice, and a not too pricey ice cold sparkling wine will suffice. The proportions should be about 1/3 orange juice to 2/3’s bubbly.

Shiitake Stuffed Baked French Toast

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering a 2 1/2 quart Pyrex dish
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound loaf brioche, sliced and crusts trimmed
  • 6 ounces Jarlsberg cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half

Sauté shallot in 1 tablespoon butter until softened. Add remaining butter to the pan, then the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until it is completely absorbed, then stir in the thyme leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Butter a 2-2 1/2 quart Pyrex dish. Line the dish with Brioche slices, trimming to fit so that the bottom of the dish is covered completely. Spread the mushrooms over the sliced Brioche, then sprinkle the Jarlsberg, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan over them. Cover with the remaining Brioche slices.

Whisk together the half and half and the eggs, and pour over the layered Brioche, cheese and mushrooms. Cover and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Uncover the casserole dish, and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the Brioche. Bake at 350 degrees for golden and puffy, about 35 minutes.

Slice into triangles to serve.

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