Oven-baked monte cristos

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 \N Loaf firm bread*
1 \N Packag; (8 oz) cream cheese
10 larges Eggs
½ cup Real maple syrup
1½ cup Half-and-half
½ cup Any flavor seedless jam**
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
\N \N Butter or margarine

The night before: Grease a 9xl2" glass baking pan with butter or margarine.

(*We use Earth Grains French) (**We use peach or apricot jam, or lemon or orange curd imported from England-do NOT use preserves or jelly!) Remove crusts from bread and cube it. Place in a closely-fitting single layer in the baking pan.

Pinch off marble-sized lumps of cream cheese with your fingers, evenly distributing them over the bread layer. Melt the jam in the microwave, or in a double boiler, until it is warm and fairly liquid. Do not boil it.

Drizzle it over the cream cheese and bread. If you like, you may add a layer of diced Canadian bacon at this point.

Place a second layer of bread, cubed and closely fitted in the same way, over the cream cheese and jam.

Beat the eggs until lemon-yellow and slightly frothy. Add the half-and-half, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until well blended. Pour this mixture over the bread layers. "Squish" it into the bread with your hands. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (This wonderful dish can be refrigerated as much as three days before baking!) In the morning: Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Remove plastic wrap and bake French toast for 50-60 minutes until nicely browned on top. Slice in the kitchen and serve warm with more maple syrup, powdered sugar, butter and/or fmely-chopped pecans.

NOTE: This recipe can be made 'guilt-free" by substituting skim milk, margarine, and low- or no-fat cream cheese.

Suggested accompaniments: We usually serve this wonderful dish with fresh fruit in season and savory turkey sausage patties.

This recipe originally called for 1 -2 loaves of bread.

Recipe by: W.J. Marsh House Victorian Bed & Breakfast, Albuquerque, Ne Posted to MC-Recipe Digest by SuzyWert@... on Feb 13, 1998

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