Bucket List Breakfast Ideas, Part 2: Not your ordinary French Toast

In Part 1 of our Bucket List Breakfast Ideas series we explored pancakes with penache. Today, we’re saying move over plain French Toast, Distinctive Inns of New England is here to offer up a variety of beyond-boring French Toast recipes.  Visit any of the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England and you just might be treated to one of these recipes or others.  The homecooked breakfasts at DINE inns are the perfect way to start your day and revv your New England romantic getaway with plenty of energy to explore the area.

But first, let’s look at how French Toast came to be such a breakfast staple in America.It was actually introduced somewhat by accident by an innkeeper! According to the Apicius, a collection of recipes from the early 5th century AD, a version of what we call French Toast existed as early as the time of the Roman Empire. Referred to as Pan Dulcis, the Romans would soak bread in milk (and sometimes also egg) mixture, then fry it in oil or butter, as we do today.  In the 15th century English court of Henry V, the next stage in this delicious breakfast treat was born when a version of the French toast called “pain perdu” or “lost bread” became the hot culinary trend. At that time, it was called “lost” bread because the recipe called for soaking hard or stale bread in a mixture of milk and egg, then frying it. Pain perdu remains what the French call French toast today.

So, if the French did not invent the modern version of French toast that we know today, where did it originate? According to legend, it was actually invented by  an Albany, New York, innkeeper named Joseph French. He created the dish in 1724, and advertised it as “French Toast” because he was grammatically inept and forgot the apostrophe! Just think, we could have been calling it French’s Toast all this time, and honoring this great innkeeper.

Now that you are armed with the history of French Toast for your next trivia contest, let’s look at some of the beyond-decadent recipes offered by Distinctive Inns of New England innkeepers.

Challah French Toast Soufflé with Fresh Berries and Crème Fraiche from Gateways InnFrench Toast served at Gateways Inn

A very special soufflé, prepared the night before and baked in the morning, for a sumptuous meal as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate! Preparation time: About 30 minutes. Baking time: About 1 hour 15 minutes.


10 cups (approx.) of cubed Challah bread, crusts removed

5 Tbsp. butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

8 extra-large or jumbo eggs

fresh blueberries and raspberries

slivered almonds

Crème Fraiche


Generously butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Put the cubed bread in a very large mixing bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, cream cheese and maple together until it is smooth and uniform.

Add the half and half and the extracts and beat to aerate and combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate. Pour this mixture over the cubed bread and toss to coat fully. Allow to sit for a few minutes, and then toss again.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan, sprinkle with berries, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove prepared pan from the fridge, remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Place the baking pan in a larger pan and add water to the larger pan about 1/3 of the way up the glass pan (water bath).

Dot the top with butter and bake for about 50 – 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the water bath and continue to bake about another 15-20 minutes until you see the bottom and sides of the soufflé begin to brown.

Soufflé is done when a small deep slit with a sharp knife made in the center does not come out wet. It should be moist, not wet.

Allow to cool a few minutes, slice and serve with Crème Fraiche drizzled over the top and warmed maple on the side.

Crunchy French Toast from Captain’s House Inn (Serves 4 People)

Crunchy French Toast from Captain's House InnIngredients

½ Cup Evaporated Milk

1 Large Egg

1 ½ Tbsp. Water

1 Tbsp. Sugar

1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

½ tsp. Cinnamon

1 Cup Crushed Rice Krispies (or any crunchy cereal)

8 Slices Portuguese Sweet Bread

½ Pint Fresh Strawberries


In a medium bowl, combine the evaporated milk, eggs, water, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Dip the bread into the mixture, then coat each slice with the crushed cereal.

Heat the griddle, glaze with butter and cook each piece until golden and crisp.

Garnish with strawberries and dust of powdered sugar.

 Pound Cake French Toast with Sauteed Apple Syrup from Captain’s House Inn

You can either buy pound cake or make from scratch using the following recipe:

Pound Cake French Toast from Captain's House InnIngredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

2 cups butter, softened

3/4 cup milk

6 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Layer ingredients and mix. Preheat oven to 325°. Place flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla (in that order) in 4-qt. bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat at low speed 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

Pour and bake. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch (16-cup) tube pan, and smooth. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Ingredients for French Toast Batter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

4 eggs

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt


Whisk all ingredients together.

Heat fry pan and add enough butter to cook with.

Dip pound cake in egg mixture (soak longer for more dry or dense cake). Do not over soak or your cake will fall apart.

Place in medium high skillet and cook till brown on both sides.

 Recipe for Sautéed Apple Syrup

3 cups sugar

¾ cup water

Boil and Add:

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Grated Rind of Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamom
  • Apples peeled and cored

Preparation for Syrup

Bake, peel, core apples and place cut ½ down on paper lined sheet pan,

Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool.

Slice the apple, and put in the poaching liquid to heat.

Arrange several slices of French toast on a plate and ladle the apples and sauce on top.

Love great breakfasts? You’ll enjoy them during your next DINE getaway. Plan your pampered 2017 getaway at the 12 Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking below on links that will take you directly to each of their websites.

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.

In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden.