Decadent French Toast Souffle

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recipe_SonomaOrchid_FrenchToastSouffle.jpgSpark the start of a terrific day with a Sonoma Orchid Inn breakfast inspired by eggs from our own organically fed chickens, our own fruits and vegetables and seasonally fresh local ingredients prepared by the inn's professional chef owners. We're known for our breakfasts and guests often leave with a cookbook or recipes.

Decadent French Toast Souffle

  • Serves 16 in ramekins or 12-14 in 10x8 baking pans. We serve with Ham Steaks or a savory sausage.
  • A croissant bread-pudding like breakfast treat.

  • 6 or 8 croissants ; (baked)
  • 3/4 pound Sourdough bread ; chopped into cubes
  • 6 ounce cream cheese ; softened
  • 1/2 cup butter ; softened
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup ; divided
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • Powdered ; sugar and chopped pecans for topping

Although the original recipe called for chopping croissants and only croissants in a food processor, you can coarsely chop croissants with a bread knife and add a little more than half by volume of sourdough sandwich bread - the hearty sour kind.

Distribute the bread evenly in 16 greased one-cup souffle dishes or 9x12" Pyrex dish. In food processor, combine cream cheese, butter and 1/2 cup maple syrup; dollop heaping tablespoon in the middle of the croissant crumbs. In a large bowl, beat eggs, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and half-and-half; pour over mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncover and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden. In small saucepan heat butter and syrup to create sauce, pour over warm souffle. (Tip from Chef: I don't use a pecan garnish. Wrong texture, I think). [Sprinkle with chopped pecans and powered sugar. Garnish with edible flour or berry. ]

The thing that I do differently is hand chop the croissants and use 1/2 & 1/2 with a nice sourdough from a local bakery. It's not even necessary to chop the pieces that small, although the firmer the bread, the smaller the pieces should be. With croissants, you can almost leave them whole although you get more puff with smaller pieces. The size pan I use holds 4 cups of the liquid and I cook it for about an hour and 10 minutes. - Notes from Chef

The biggest thing is to keep the proportions of the egg custard. Don't feel obligated to use it all. The bread should not be swimming in it. A good way to judge how full to make it is by covering with plastic wrap, pressing down on the bread to be sure it all gets moistened and if the custard just comes to the top as you press down, then it's good. And don't use too deep a dish or it'll get eggy.

It should work out to about 3 cups of 1/2 and 1/2 for 12-14 people in a large container or 16 with individual ramekins.

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