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Recipe | Sweet Potato French Toast Cups with Vanilla Cardamom Creme Anglaise

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Sweet Potato French Toast Cups

Sweet Potato French Toast Cups with Vanilla Cardamom Creme Anglaise
A typical weekend breakfast in our household involves microwaved muffins or string cheese. We’re always busy on the weekends and it seems like from Saturday morning to dinnertime on Sunday, we’re running errands or working in the yard. Taking the time for a sit-down breakfast seems like a small luxury. And when we do have traditional breakfast foods like pancakes or waffles, it’s usually for dinner because I’m in no mood for cooking first thing in the morning.

The wonderful thing about French toast casseroles, though, is that they can be made the night before–and really, they’re so much better when you make them ahead of time too. Although I’ve never made a French toast casserole myself, I thought I’d try one because doing most of the work the night before and simply popping it in the oven in the morning seemed like the happy medium between the string cheese breakfast and homecooked pancakes or waffles. We’d still have something delicious to sit down to, but I wouldn’t have to be flipping pancakes while groggy and cranky.

Of course, a whole French toast casserole is a little too much for two people, so I decided to make Sweet Potato French Toast Cups, using muffin tins–this way, we could easily freeze some of the leftovers for another weekend. The result is kind of a cross between French toast and bread pudding. By taking the time to bake the sweet potatoes, you can take advantage of their natural sweetness and add less sugar than in a typical French toast recipe. I deliberately left out spices in the French toast cups so the flavor of the Vanilla Cardamom Creme Anglaise would shine through–if you decide to make these without the creme anglaise, add some cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice to the French toast before baking.

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Sweet Potato French Toast Cups with Vanilla Cardamom Creme Anglaise

Sweet Potato French Toast Cups

Although this Sweet Potato French Toast Cups recipe is meant to be an overnight one, you can simply let the bread and egg mixture sit in the muffin tins for 20-30 minutes before cooking if you’re pressed for time.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato, pierced with fork
  • Cooking spray or oil mister
  • 8 oz. stale bread, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (any kind will do, but I like using a small baguette)
  • 3 eggs + 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 c. low-fat milk
  • 2 1/2 c. half-and-half, divided
  • 2 tsp. vanilla, divided
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place sweet potato on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes or until softened. Cool to room temperature and puree in food processor.
  3. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or oil. Divide bread pieces evenly among all 12 muffin cups.
  4. Beat 3 whole eggs in a medium bowl. Add milk, 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and brown sugar and whisk until well-combined. Whisk in 1/2 cup of pureed sweet potato (use any remaining potato puree for whatever you like or just eat it as-is–whatever!).
  5. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover muffin tins with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. To make the creme anglaise, heat half-and-half in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until just simmering, about 5 minutes.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and egg yolks. Slowly add half of half-and-half mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour half-and-half and egg mixture back into saucepan and raise heat to medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sauce has thickened and coats back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla extract and cardamom; pour through strainer into a heat-proof bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  8. In the morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from muffin tins and use a spoon to push bread down into the egg mixture before placing in oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until edges are golden but not brown. Loosen French toast cups by running a butterknife along the edges before popping them out. Serve with chilled creme anglaise.

Notes

Prep time does not include time spent overnight in fridge.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 French Toast Cups
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Vegetarian Recipes

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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