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Grape-Stuffed French Toast

Yield: 12 servings

2 each long baguettes (or day-old artisan bread)
1⁄2 cup almond paste
16 oz. N eufchatel cheese
2 cups red seedless grapes, quartered
6 each eggs
3 cups milk
2 tsps. sugar
pinch salt (optional)
1 cup orange marmalade
2 cups water
4 tsps. butter or vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup toasted almonds (optional)

1. Slice the bread, cutting through the bottom crust only every other cut, to form a “pocket” of two thin slices of bread connected at the base with the crust.
2. In a mixer, blend almond paste with 1⁄2 cup of the cheese until smooth. Add remainder of the cheese and mix well. Stir in grapes with a spoon; set aside.
3. Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar and salt in a pie plate or shallow dish.
4. In saucepan, melt marmalade with the water. Simmer until just syrupy; keep warm.
5. Spoon some of the grape filling into each prepared bread pocket, smooth to the edges, and press lightly to flatten.
6. Heat a griddle to medium and lightly grease with butter or oil. Dip bread in egg mixture and turn to coat lightly. Fry the French toast slowly, about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown on the outside and just warmed through. Keep finished toast warm while cooking remaining toast.
7. Serve warm with marmalade syrup and a sprinkling of almonds, if desired.

Recipe and photo from California Table Grape Commission.

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