Banana Stuffed French Toast
2 firm-ripe bananas
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 large loaf of challah, brioche or Italian bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Cut the bananas into 1/4-inch thick diagonal slices. Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, milk, liqueur, orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. Set aside.
Slice off the heels of the bread and discard. Cut the loaf into eight 1-inch pieces. Then cut bread slices horizontally, nearly in half, leaving one edge intact to create a pocket. Fill each bread pocket with 4 more banana slices. Place the stuffed bread in a large deep baking dish in one layer. Pour the egg mixture over them, and allow to soak 5 minutes on each side, until all liquid is absorbed.
Heat the butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the toast in batches (adding more butter, if necessary), about 5 to 6 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the cooked slices to a baking sheet in a warm (250 degree F oven). Place 2 pieces of toast on a plate, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.