Just like many people out there, getting in shape and losing a couple of lbs is one of my top resolutions for 2011. For that reason alone, I'm glad I was able to squeeze in this french toast during the holidays.
Heck, for all I know, this french toast is the reason I can't squeeze into my favorite jeans.
Well, that and the two dozen peanut butter balls I've consumed in the last three weeks.
For the french toast, I recommend the french toast recipe from America's Test Kitchen. I know it can seem like a pain. Drying out the toast. Warming the whole milk. Separating the eggs. But, trust me, it's worth it. Your thighs will thank you in the morning. This time around, we used Texas Toast (not the stuff in the freezer section...it's the thick loaf of bread mixed in with all the others) and it was delightful. The Test Kitchen says just regular ol' Bunny will work too. But, as long as you are going all-out, get some bread that will really soak up all the sinful goodness.
This was my first time making a compote and I tell you what...it doesn't suck. You can make this ahead of time and then just warm it up before you serve it atop your french toast. Or pancakes. Or pork tenderloin. Like I said, this compote does not suck.
For the pear-cranberry compote
(the recipe below is for four people, I halved it and had plenty for Mr. VB and myself)
- 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 4 Bartlett pears, about 1 3/4 lb. total, peeled, cored and each cut into 12 wedges
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
To make the compote, in a small saucepan over high heat, bring 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add the cranberries and remove from the heat. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. When the foam subsides, add half of the pear slices, arranging them in a single layer. Cook, without moving them, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the slices over and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl. Melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter in the pan and repeat to cook the remaining pear slices.
Return all the pears to the pan along with the cranberries and any remaining soaking liquid. Add the vanilla and the remaining 1/2 Tbs. butter, and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Gently swirl the pan and stir the fruit to combine, about 1 minute. Transfer the compote to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil until ready to serve.