Bananas are a great breakfast food, whether you’re blending them into a smoothie, adding slices to a bowl of cereal or just enjoying one alongside a plate of eggs and toast. Their natural sweetness is a great match with all kinds of breakfast foods and they’re healthy, too. That said, I don’t always eat bananas just because they’re healthy and, while they are adding a little punch of vitamins and minerals to this breakfast dish, it’s one that I enjoy because it is delicious and just a little bit indulgent.
This Bananas n’ Cream Stuffed French Toast is made with thick cut pieces of challah or brioche that are stuffed with a lightly sweetened banana and cream cheese mixture. The filling is rich and flavorful and it’s inspired by banana cream pie. Pudding, a component of banana cream pie, is a little bit difficult to stuff into french toast, so I used cream cheese as the base of my filling. It is creamy and gives the filling enough body that it doesn’t just ooze out of the french toast when you’re stuffing it. You’ll get a hint of tang from the cream cheese and a lot of sweetness from the bananas, but the dish isn’t so sweet that you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast – even after it is topped with maple syrup or powdered sugar.
Once your bread is stuffed, you can batter and fry it up just like regular french toast. Since the slices are thick, it may take a couple more minutes than standard french toast to cook all the way through. As you are dipping the bread, poke holes around the edges to ensure that the thicker slices soak up that eggy batter thoroughly. I add a touch of vanilla to my batter for this recipe because it works so well with the banana filling, but I don’t add any sugar because the filling (and maple syrup!) are sweet enough. Serve this fresh off the griddle with plenty of syrup or powdered sugar and more fresh banana slices.
Bananas n’ Cream Stuffed French Toast
6 1-inch thick slices of challah bread (approx 1/2 loaf)
4-oz cream cheese
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1/2 large banana (approx 5-inches)
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
bananas, for garnish
maple syrup or confectioners’ sugar, for topping
Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket in one end of each slice of bread. The pocket should stop about one inch from the sides of the bread (except for the side where you made your initial cut, where it goes all the way through). Try to keep the pocket level as you cut, so it isn’t thinner on one side.
In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and banana until smooth.
Spread about 1 1/2-oz of cream cheese filling mixture into each pocket using a small knife (or a pastry bag), making sure the filling goes well into the pocket and doesn’t just sit at the edge of the bread.
In a medium bowl, beat together milk, eggs, vanilla and salt. Transfer to a large, flat bowl or pie plate.
Preheat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Dip the bread, one or two pieces at a time, into the milk and egg mixture. Allow each side to soak well, poking the edges of the slice with a fork (but not the stuffed center) to saturate it. Transfer to hot pan with a spatula. Cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes, then flip and cook until golden on the second side, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately, and repeat with remaining slices of bread.
Top with banana slices and serve with maple syrup