Indemic - Product Development, Taranaki, New Zealand

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Pear, Ricotta & Chocolate French Toast Sandwiches

This past week our little family have all been suffering the ills of winter.  Snuffly noses and sleepy dispositions, we have all been a little out of sorts.  As I sit here at my computer, a foggy head means even writing this introduction comes in fits and starts - the words don't flow the way they normally would and inspiration is, frustratingly enough, out of reach.

I can however provide you with a bit of inspiration in the kitchen in the form of French toast sandwiches.  These make a wonderful weekend breakfast treat and given that pears are in season at the moment it is the perfect time to make them.  Why don't you surprise loved ones this weekend by whipping up a batch of these and celebrating the good things in life - great food, wonderful company and the imminent arrival of spring!          

PEAR, RICOTTA & CHOCOLATE FRENCH TOAST SANDWICHES
Serves 4

2 ripe pears, halved, cores removed
6 tablespoons brown sugar
butter for frying
200g ricotta
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate (I used 50 per cent cocoa), roughly chopped
16 slices white bread (I used mini loaves but 8 slices of a larger loaf would also work) icing sugar and Greek yoghurt to serve

Thinly slice the pears and put into a bowl with 4 tablespoons of the brown sugar. Mix to coat the pears. Put a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the pear slices in batches, adding more butter with each new batch and frying until the pears are golden brown. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and lemon zest and set aside. In a shallow dish whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and the vanilla. Lay out 8 slices of bread, spread generously with the ricotta, sprinkle with chocolate and then cover with pear slices. Lastly top with the remaining bread. Put each sandwich into the egg mixture and leave for 30 seconds to a minute on each side so the bread absorbs the liquid. Fry the sandwiches in a bit of butter for 2-3 minutes or until well browned on each side. Put the sandwiches into a warm oven as you go. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.