Baked Cherry-Stuffed French Toast with Cherry-Orange Sauce

While I'm usually quite conscious about healthy eating when it comes to meal-planning, I'll often throw the nutrition book pretty much right out the window for the occasional sweet treat or Sunday morning breakfast. Even so, I'm still nagged by the idea of using refined sugar products, particularly when it's avoidable … such as when using fresh sweet fruits. I used to adore fresh strawberries sprinkled with granulated sugar like my mom used to prepare, but I've long since tamed that hyperactive sweet tooth and started reducing the sugar in recipes or finding natural substitutes.

And when in season, fresh local sweet cherries need especially little help from sugar. Which is why cherries and orange juice need just a little natural maple syrup to make a rich, gooey and decadent sauce to dress these baked French Toast slices stuffed — of course — with even more cherries. It's like having dessert for breakfast without the guilt!

Baked Cherry-Stuffed French Toast with Cherry-Orange Sauce

French Toast:

butter for greasing
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest
16 fresh sweet cherries, pitted
4 slices fresh bakery sandwich bread, cut 1-1/2 inches thick
1/3 cup sliced almonds


Cherry-Orange Sauce:

1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400º and grease a large 13×9-inch baking pan with a generous layer of butter.

Whisk together the eggs in a medium bowl with the milk, vanilla and orange zest until well blended. Pour into the baking pan and set aside.

Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut a wide pocket in the side of each bread slice and stuff 4 cherries in each of the pockets.

Place the filled slices in the egg mixture. Let stand on each side for 5 minutes to absorb the egg mixture, and sprinkle the almonds over one side. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, and then turn over the slices to bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the cherry-orange sauce by bringing the orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cherries and bring to a boil again. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup, cornstarch and cinnamon, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another couple of minutes or until the sauce thickens. Reduce to a simmer until the French Toast is baked.

Serve the French Toast warm covered with hot cherry-orange sauce.

Other French Toast recipes you may enjoy:

Baked Strawberry Ricotta French Toast
Eggnog & Rum French Toast
Gourmet A Go-Go's Eye-Opening Blueberry French Toast

15 comments:

indosungod said...

Lisa the cherry orange sauce is a delight to just look, I bet tastes awesome with that delicious French toast. Maple syrup makes a great substitute for refined sugar and tastes so much better.

TBC said...

That's a breakfast to die for!

betty said...

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A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Looks absolutely delicious. Very nice pictures.

Shri said...

Maple syrup is such a great substitute for sugar..It looks so delicious, Lisa!

ABowlOfMush said...

Yum! This looks so appetizing! Lovely :)

rekhas kitchen said...

One more delicious idea for breakfast from you great...........

Priti said...

O dear...that's looks mouth watering...so delicious....tempting pic

Johanna said...

I've never appreciated french toast but this looks delicious - just my sort of sauce - could perhaps persuade me to try french toast again - but if the french toast was still not quite right I would definitely love the sauce on pancakes

Jules said...

You wouldn't believe how much I would love this for breakfast!

Bellini Valli said...

Oh my Lisa, you know I am there:D

Parita said...

the toast looks delicious Lisa, love the cherry sauce on the top, lovely color:)

Soma said...

Oh the cherry orange sauce is something which i have to make before the summer is over.

eatme_delicious said...

Oddly I've never thought to bake french toast! This french toast looks really yummy. I love that you stuffed cherries inside! And I just checked out the rum and eggnog french toast - brilliant idea! Must try that when eggnog comes out.

Ricki said...

My kind of breakfast! I love that you baked it--and love, love, love fresh cherries.