Always choose a firm-textured, flavorful bread for the best French toast. Slices of gold, egg-rich challah are a good choice because they soak up the batter yet retain their shape during cooking. This is a perfect way to use your leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving dinner; add maple syrup for more sweetness, if you like.
Challah French Toast with Cranberry-Apple Compote
For the cranberry-apple compote:
2 apples, such as Granny Smith or Baldwin, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 slices fresh ginger, about 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
8 slices day-old challah, each 3/4 inch thick, with crusts
To make the compote, in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the apples, cranberries, sugar, orange juice and ginger. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Serve the compote warm, or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold. Or, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Pour the batter into a baking dish.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt half of the butter and continue to heat until it foams but does not brown.
Place 4 of the bread slices in the egg mixture and let stand for 5 seconds. Turn and let stand for 5 seconds more. Using tongs, lift the slices from the batter, letting any excess drip back into the baking dish, and transfer to the hot pan. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Using clean tongs, transfer the French toast to a warmed platter. Repeat with the remaining butter, batter and bread slices.
Serve immediately, accompanied by the cranberry-apple compote. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce.