CAST-IRON CARAMELIZED APPLE FRENCH TOAST

Breakfast for dinner is always a treat. I made this dish for a get together with friends a few nights ago and it went over exceptionally well. The fresh apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, maple syrup… Yum! And not hard at all to make.

Cast-Iron Caramelized Apple French Toast

4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

4 apples, cored and cut into 1/2″ thick pieces

1 cup brown sugar, divided

1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

1/4 cup water

20 slices French bread (1/2″ thick and quartered–about 10 oz)

8 eggs

1-3/4 cups half-and-half, divided

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup (plus additional for serving, if you like)

1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1) Melt 2 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp) in cast iron skillet over medium heat; add apples, 1/2 cup sugar (reserving 1/2 cup), and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (reserving 1/2 tsp); cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes; stir in water and cook additional 5 minutes until apples are caramelized; transfer apples and caramel sauce to bowl and set aside

2) Wipe skillet clean; add 2 tbsp reserved butter to skillet and melt; remove from heat and lay half the bread in bottom of skillet; top with half the apple mixture followed by remaining half of the bread; set aside; cover remaining apple mixture and refrigerate

3) To large bowl add: eggs, 1-1/2 cups half-and-half (reserving 1/4 cup), 1/2 cup reserved sugar, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp reserved cinnamon, lemon zest, and vanilla; beat until well combined; pour over bread/apples in skillet; using the back of a spatula, gently press bread down to saturate; cover skillet with aluminum foil and refrigerate 1-2 hours

4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

5) Remove skillet from refrigerator and let sit 10-15 minutes; keeping skillet covered with foil, bake apple french toast in oven 30 minutes; remove foil, bake additional 15 minutes

6) Meanwhile remove reserved apple mixture from refrigerator to let it warm up; spoon reserved apple mixture over french toast and bake additional 10 minutes until french toast is firm in center; remove from oven and drizzle with maple syrup and 1/4 cup reserved half-and-half; sprinkle pecans over top, cut in wedges, and serve with additional maple syrup

Servings: 6

Recipe adapted from: Cast Iron Skillet: Big Flavors