Enjoying summer strawberries happens in stages for me. Since I live in the largest strawberry producing city in Virginia and go through close to a bushel each season, I consider myself an expert in this tasty subject :)
Stage one of my bright summer berry journey launches with the first of the season, the most scrumptious, best ever Pungo Chandler berry. Small to medium, vivid ruby red with a juicy sheen.
One of those close your eyes and appreciate every succulent moment, knowing it will end but trying not to think about it. A brief pleasure that I long for and anxiously await each April/May.
Next, are the rest of the local crop, always far superior to grocery stores and still supporting farms and knowing where your produce comes from.
The final stage is mid summer, when I must say farewell to another strawberry season and try to adjust to 10 months of grocery store berries.
So, what to do with a bounty of perishable berries? Again with the stages, the first 10 to 15 strawberries are greedily devoured over the counter, as I transfer them into open containers for the frig. My daily recipe menu for these precious gems is very basic. Yogurt, cereal, bowl of mixed fruits. To quench my fancy side, there's
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For this brunch, the most important thing was letting the fruit shine without a lot of additions. Nothing to cover up the flavor, only a little strawberry moonshine enhancement.
Then there's the bed for that luscious topping. Bread for French toast makes a difference. It's an important part of the package. I'm a big fan of Pepperidge Farm flavored breads. They're small enough to stuff or to just layer 2 or 3 slices with fresh fruit! To continue the summery theme I'm using their limited edition strawberry. A hint of fruit flavor, soft and dense enough to soak up the rich custard.
French toast is not just a throw together brunch for me but a premeditated indulgence of seasonal fruit, interesting textures and a fantastic way to explore what's in my liqueur cabinet. Some Tequila Rose Strawberry Cream liqueur found its way into the cream:) You see what's happening...we're building layer after layer of the same flavor in different forms.
Not that I don't love my maple syrup but this delicacy deserved a unique topper. Introducing...pistachio cream, featuring two of my favorite flavors, mascarpone cheese and crunchy pistachios. Where has this nut been all my life? For years I wouldn't eat them because every pistachio dessert I tried featured a heavy dose of almond flavoring, which I don't like. So I associated that taste with pistachios. Boy was I wrong! Now, I add those roasted crunchy little nuggets to savory dishes, vanilla ice cream, salads, and even a spoonful of Nutella topped with a few nuts for a snack!
Moral of this brunch saga is, try this strawberry French toast. It will definitely wake up your palate and maybe turn you into a morning person ;) Welll, that might be stretching it a bit, but give it a whirl and please share your favorite seasonal French Toast in the comments!
Strawberry French Toast Topped With Pistachio Lime Cream
Prep Time – 30 to 40 minutes
Cook Time – about 12 minutes
Total – 42 to 52 minutes
Servings - 3
Ingredients For Fresh Strawberry Topping
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons strawberry moonshine (I used Midnight Moon)
2 tablespoons sugar
Ingredients For Pistachio Lime Cream
8 ounces mascarpone cream, softened
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup pistachios, ground to paste plus some whole nuts for garnishing
Ingredients For Cream Custard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Tequila Rose strawberry cream liqueur
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of butter
6 slices Pepperidge Farm strawberry bread (leave on the counter to dry out while you prepare everything)
powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)
Directions For Strawberries
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow to marinate while you make everything else.
Directions For Pistachio Lime Cream
Stir first four ingredients together. Then blend in pistachio paste. Set aside.
Directions For Cream Custard
Whisk first five ingredients into a bowl. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add butter. Dunk each slice of bread into the cream, making sure both sides are well coated. Place into the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 or six minutes per side.
Top with the strawberries and a delectable dollop of pistachio lime cream. For a pretty final touch, sprinkle some whole pistachios and powdered sugar on and then block out some time to kick back and enjoy!