Panettone, croissants, brioche or baguette could be used, but my preference is for a medium-thick cut sliced challah bread, which lends itself well to the creamy custard soaking through. French toast is best when served warm – after resting for 5 minutes.
Makes 4 servings
8 3/4-inch-thick slices of challah bread thinly sliced; preferably stale (about 3 days old)
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
1-2 tbsp. heavy cream
Zest of ½ lemon
2 large free-range eggs
¾ cup half-&-half
½ tsp. vanilla extract (our favorite is Lafaza, available https://www.lafaza.com)
Pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. sliced toasted almonds
1 tbsp. icing sugar for light dusting
Cardamom maple syrup (Runamok Pure Maple Syrups, available https://runamokmaple.com)
1. Whip the ricotta cheese with 1-2 tbsp. of heavy cream to loosen it up for ease of spreading. Add lemon zest and mix.
2. Spread 4 slices of the bread with ricotta, keeping most of the filling in the center. Spread the remaining 4 slices of bread generously with the Murabba. Close the sandwiches, pressing gently so they stay closed, especially at the edges.
3. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Dip both sides of each sandwich into the egg mixture until well coated. Let them sit for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes for even absorption.
4. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add 2 of the sandwiches and cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining butter and sandwiches. Sprinkle with almonds, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup immediately.