orangey goodness in the form of french toast

[source: latimes.com]
My favorite snack is a good recipe. No really. I read a recipe online, in a book (I often go to Borders to read cookbooks to supplement my minimal lunch) or in a magazine, and my mouth waters with delight. I imagine myself tasting it… and then fill myself up with the idea of making it one day. This recipe was one I’ve kept in my coffers for a few weeks, and thanks to a bit of nuclear radiation, I finally got the chance to try it out with our houseguest, CM, this weekend.
I think it’s quite obvious from the image above, but this French Toast from the Arizona Biltmore Hotel is perfect for any breakfast/brunch, but also exquisite to serve for guests. Or at least, I hope CM was as impressed with it as I was! I also only made 4 rounds… so I significantly reduced the recipe, but it all worked out perfectly in the end!

Mascarpone-Stuffed French Toast with Orange Compote
(makes 6-9 servings)

Orange compote

3 (10.5 ounce) cans mandarin oranges packed in juice
2 3/4 cups orange juice, divided, more as needed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Drain the canned mandarin oranges, reserving the juice; you should have 1 1/2 cups reserved juice (if you are short, make up the difference with additional orange juice).

2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the canned oranges, reserved mandarin juice, 2 1/2 cups orange juice, ginger and sugar over high heat.

3. Bring the mixture to a strong simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the compote is reduced to sauce consistency, about 40 minutes. As the compote reduces, the color will deepen to a rich apricot shade.

4. When the compote is almost reduced, in a small bowl combine the remaining one-fourth cup orange juice with the cornstarch, whisking to thoroughly combine and form a slurry.

5. Add the slurry into the reduced compote, stirring until the compote thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. This makes about 1 ½ cups compote. You might not use all of the compote for the remainder of the recipe; to store, cool the compote then cover and refrigerate until needed. The compote will keep for about a week, refrigerated. Gently warm in a saucepan before serving.

French Toast and Assembly

About 2 loaves white sandwich bread (you will need 36 slices, enough for 18 sandwiches) [I used 1 loaf of french bread]
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about 10 ounces) mascarpone cheese
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Canola oil for frying
Orange compote, warmed

1. Cut the bread: Use a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut through the center of each slice to form a round. Spread 1 tablespoon mascarpone over each of half of the rounds, then cover with a remaining round of bread. Repeat, forming 18 sandwiches.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and sugar to form a batter.

3. Heat a large flat skillet over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil to the pan (enough to form a thin film), heating until the oil is hot.

4. Dunk a sandwich quickly into the batter, coating on all sides. Place the sandwich in the skillet and fry until golden and crisp on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

5. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches until all are fried, holding the fried sandwiches in a warm place.

6. To serve, place 3 warm sandwiches on each plate, topping with a spoonful of compote. Serve immediately.

[Recipes adapted from the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix]