As the weather turns from fall to winter, innkeepers at the Distinctive Inns of New England start thinking about hearty breakfast recipes to fuel guests for a day of exploring New England hillsides and beaches. While the tradition of baking toast in a batter of cinnamon, eggs and milk goes centuries back, the 11 DINE inns have found new takes on the traditional French Toast recipe, creating the perfect start to a romantic getaway at their special New England inns.
While the ideal way to start the day is at our breakfast table, we know that every day can’t be a holiday, so instead we will bring these recipes to your kitchen so you can dine with DINE inspiration. Since breakfast is our specialty and DINE is our acronym, we offer these French Toast recipes to start you day with a little DINEspiration! For more delicious recipes from DINE kitchens visit the DINE website and click on recipes.
Apricot Stuffed French Toast for a crowd, served At Captain Jefferds Inn
Serves 16 (two pieces of toast per serving)
2 – 1 pound loafs crusty French bread
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup part skim milk Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup apricot preserves
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1¼ cups milk
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. Butter or margarine
Cut the French bread into diagonal slices about ½ inch thick.
In a small mixing bowl beat together the softened cream cheese, ricotta cheese, dried apricots and apricot preserves.
Spoon about 1 Tbsp. of the cheese mixture into each pocket. (The stuffed bread slices may be prepared the day before serving and refrigerated overnight in a tightly sealed plastic bag.)
In a mixing bowl beat the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined.
Melt the butter on a preheated, 350° F. griddle.
Dip the stuffed bread slices into egg mixture and cook until golden brown, turning once. Serve with orange syrup.
ORANGE SYRUP: makes ¾ cup
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
3 oz. (1/3 cup) frozen orange juice concentrate
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Using a rotary beater, beat until slightly thickened. Serve warm over the French toast.
Next, here’s 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 is about 30 minutes Baking time: About 1 hour 15 minutes
Challah French Toast Soufflé with Fresh Berries and Crème Fraiche from Gateways Inn & Restaurant
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
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.
We finish this blog with a quick and simple recipe, short on steps and large on taste.
Crunchy French Toast served at Captain’s House Inn (serves 4)
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.
Easy peasy, strawberry squeezy!
Of course, if you want to start the day in a perfect way, these recipes and many more will be enjoyed at your favorite DINE inn, saving you the muss and fuss of prep and clean up.
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic.