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Recipe: French Toast With Butter-Braised Strawberries From S2 of Cooking With Nick Stellino

Season two of Cooking with Nick Stellino is underway! KCTS 9 invites viewers to celebrate Nick Stellino's 20 years on public television with a special $5 discount offer on his latest ecookbook. In this gorgeous interactive cookbook from season two, you’ll find dozens of Nick's signature delicious dishes, like the one presented below for French toast with butter-braised strawberries and crème de cassis syrup. Each of the recipes is presented with easy step-by-step instructions and helpful video demonstrations from Nick himself — all searchable on your favorite device. Get the new ebook now!

Tune in to season two of Cooking With Nick Stellino each Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“When you rise in the morning, think what a privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." These are the words of Marcus Aurelius, wonderful Roman emperor, who thought of these words almost 2,000 years ago. Words which I live by today. It’s my mantra, so to speak. But what makes the perfect morning? A great breakfast! And what I consider to be a great breakfast is French toast – French toast with cassis and strawberry sauce. 
-- Nick Stellino 

French Toast With Butter-Braised Strawberries in a Cassis & Sugar Syrup
Serves 4

For the French toast:
8 T unsalted butter, clarified (see directions below), divided 
8 T C&H© or Domino© sugar 
4 large eggs 
1 C cream 
1 t cinnamon 
1 t pure vanilla extracte
8 1-inch-thick slices of day-old brioche
Whipped cream cheese  
Powdered sugar (optional) 
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish 

For the butter-braised strawberries and syrup:
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 C packed golden or light brown sugar
2 C strawberries, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 C crème de cassis liqueur

To prepare the French toast:           
First, clarify the butter. Place the butter in a saucepan and melt it slowly over low heat. Pour the melted butter into a fat separator and let it rest; the milk solids will separate out. Once the milk solids are at the bottom of the separator, pour them into another container and dispose of them. The golden liquid that you are left with is the clarified butter you’ll need for cooking the French toast.

Whisk together the granulated sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the cream, cinnamon and vanilla until combined.

Make the French toast in two batches. Start by heating 4 tablespoons of the clarified butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat until the butter starts to foam.

Transfer the egg-and-cream mixture to another receptacle, such as a pie plate or baking dish, for soaking the slices of bread. Place 4 slices of the bread in the egg-and-cream custard, immersing both sides until the bread is soaked through. Remove with a slotted spatula to allow the excess custard to run off. Cook over medium heat until the toast is golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer the French toast to a baking rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in a warm oven while you cook the second batch with the remaining butter and bread. Keep the French toast warm until ready to serve.

To prepare the butter-braised strawberries and syrup:
Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat until it begins to sizzle. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly.

Add the strawberries and cook until slightly softened. Remove from the heat and add the crème de cassis. Return to the heat and cook until the alcohol has burned off.

To serve:
Serve 2 slices of toast per person, topped with some of the strawberries and their syrup, a dollop of the whipped cream cheese and a sprinkling of powdered / confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Garnish with mint.