Grilled Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast
If you’re a homeowner trying to decide on what fruits and vegetables to plant, a word of warning: in the blink of an eye you may find yourself completely overwhelmed by blackberries. They will have taken over any available space in your refrigerator and by the end of the first week of picking them, you’ll likely give up and let the birds have the unfortunate ones you’ve chosen to leave on the vines.
Today’s recipe is one that I happily stumbled upon last year in a Sunset Best Outdoor Cooking issue, with a few minor twists of my own. That’s right, this recipe is intended to be cooked outside on your grill either in your backyard or while camping in the wilderness and it is dee-lish! I've been looking for an excuse to whip this recipe up while out in the great outdoors, and now that there's enough water in the lakes to go boating, you bet this recipe is going to be on my menu.
I’m a huge fan of blackberries and mint, and for this recipe I infuse the blackberry syrup with a couple of fresh sprigs of mint while it’s cooking. The mint adds some quality brightness to the syrup, without being too minty. I also really enjoy orange and blackberries, so I’ve added a splash of orange liqueur to the mascarpone filling—the original recipe wanted blackberry liqueur, but I’m not a fan of it and rarely ever use it, let alone buy it.
When I serve this French toast, I like serving it with slices of crispy brown maple glazed bacon. Obviously, it’s not diet friendly, but sometimes I just gotta have bacon. Bacon (and butter) makes everything better, right?
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
- 1 1/2 cups very cold mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon quality honey
- 8 thick slices of day-old French bread, approximately 3/4" thick
- 1/4 cup grade A maple syrup
- 2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Cooked bacon (below for recipe)
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
- In another bowl, stir together mascarpone, honey, the remaining 1 tablespoon vanilla, and the orange liqueur. Spread the mixture over four slices of bread; top with remaining slices.
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat (450º) or light a fire pit with a mesh cover like we do.
- In a small saucepan with a lid, combine the maple syrup and blackberries and cook until the berries begin to break down and lose some of their juices, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered.
- Heat a large cast iron fry pan over the heat, add the butter and swirl the butter around the pan to coat. Carefully dip the sandwiches into the cinnamon-egg mixture, add to the pan, turning once until crisp and caramelized about 6 minutes. Serve with the French toast with the syrup and slices of bacon.
Maple Bacon: Two Ways
- 8 slices of bacon
- 3 tablespoons grade A maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- Combine maple syrup and brown sugar in a small bowl, stir until combined.
- Preheat oven to 325º line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, coat the bacon with the maple syrup mixture. Bake until the bacon is crispy and the sugar has caramelized about 25 minutes. Cool slightly and then serve.
- Fry bacon in cast iron pan over medium-high heat, flipping periodically until cooked through and crisp.