Inspired by Phoenix’s diverse culinary scene and its talented chefs, award-winning writer Christina Barrueta (writeonrubee.com) has penned Phoenix Cooks: Recipes from the City’s Finest Chefs (Figure 1 Publishing). Featuring 98 recipes from heavy hitters like Bourbon Steak’s Michael Mina and Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Beau MacMillan, Barrueta is highlighting the Valley of the Sun’s most popular restaurants and dishes. Here, chef Charles Wiley of Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows shares how to make his indulgent cranberry-walnut French toast with orange cream and fresh berries. Bon appétit!
CRANBERRY-WALNUT FRENCH TOAST WITH ORANGE CREAM AND BERRIES
“The beauty of this dish is the artisan fruit and nut bread,” says chef Charles Wiley. “There’s a fleeting hint of nutmeg, and decadent orange cream is made fragrant with a generous helping of orange zest.” Wiley suggests using an electric griddle for this recipe. “The temperature is more accurate, heat is even, and you can fit eight slices of bread on a 24-inch homestyle griddle.”
FOR THE ORANGE CREAM
8 oz. softened cream cheese
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
FOR THE CRANBERRYWALNUT FRENCH TOAST
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
½ cup (1 stick) butter 8 slices peasant-style cranberry-walnut bread (preferably from Noble Bread in Phoenix)
3 cups berries (divided)
1 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar Maple syrup, warmed
Make the orange cream: In a food processor, combine cream cheese, sugar and salt until creamy, scraping down the bowl from the sides to the center. Add orange zest and juice. Pulse until smooth and incorporated. Set aside.
Make the cranberry-walnut French toast: Preheat electric griddle, if using, to 350 F.
In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until slightly frothy. Pour mixture into a large shallow bowl and set batter aside.
Melt butter on electric griddle or on a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, swirling evenly to coat.
Meanwhile, dredge bread lightly in batter and add to pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown, then turn and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Cut the bread diagonally and arrange two halves on each plate. Spread orange cream over the slices and top with half of the berries. Arrange two more halves of bread on top of berries. Press down lightly, then scatter the remaining berries over top and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with maple syrup.