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Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Pomegranate & How to Clean a Pomegranate

Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Pomegranate and How to Clean a Pomegranate

by Barbara Kiebel on February 13, 2013

Although I would be hard pressed to claim that I love this time of year for a long list of reasons, two things help make it a time I look forward to. Is is snow and skiing? Nope. Neither is it a sport or other media event; no, my reason that makes winter bearable is much more food centric and those foods are two favorites; blood oranges and pomegranates. I remember when my daughter Lauren would help a woman she babysat for get ready for a holiday party by helping to clean a boatload of pomegranates and that job sounded like such a mess that I could not imagine anything being worth that hassle. Until I had my first fresh poms. Oh yeah I get it now! Add those lovely pomegranate arils to a pair of French toast slices stuffed with some sweetened cream cheese and it’s a breakfast worthy of serving on any special day; though the red and white might speak to many of Valentine’s Day and this would be a very worthy breakfast for those you love.

I’ve used this recipe for French toast for years but it was never really a recipe since I’ve never paid attention to measurements; I simply crack some eggs and start adding a bit of this and a touch of that and it’s always worked fine. Remembering to note ingredients and their amount was harder and makes it evident that their precision is not all that important; if you feel the urge to add more cinnamon or vanilla, I say go for it. I often include a touch of nutmeg or maybe put some maple syrup in the egg mixture too but today I kept it simpler since I was adding cheese and fruit to my French toast after it was finished.

french-toast-pomegranate3

While the egg mixture for this dish is basically my everyday recipe, using Challah bread for the toast and then adding some sweetened cream cheese and fruit elevated it to the realm of special. One highlight comes from using the pomegranate syrup I made a couple of weeks ago. I keep a supply on hand for cocktails; it’s my Grenadine! Did you know Grenade is French for pomegranate and the original making of a sweetened and thicker juice became Grenadine? Making your own results in a FAR superior product than what is sold today as Rose’s which is simply colored sugar water!

Cleaning them is the hardest part and I think many shy away from using them as a result. I do think I’ve got a method that makes it as easy as it can be. Water is the key…do the task under water and keep your hands and your cutting board and your counter and your dishes and your apron (you get my drift?) clean!!

How to Clean a Pomegranate

I’ve found this the easiest method for me. Pay very close attention; you know I NEVER do step by step photos! :) Pomegranates are ripe when they start to look a little “beat-up” and you can begin to see concave indentations on the sides.

pom-arils1


Remove the top; cutting about ½-inch down from the blossom.

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Cut between each section where there is membrane and separate sections.

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Put cold water in a large bowl and add the sections to the water. I just use my hands to separate the membrane and most of the seeds will just fall out; if not simply rub them a bit with your fingers to loosen them. I’ve seen folks recommend using a spoon but I think that’s just asking for a lot of broken seeds!

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When all the seeds are removed from the pomegranate sections, drain the water. Any pieces of membrane should float to the surface and be easily poured off. If you see bits of membrane at the bottom of the bowl, it’s because that piece is still attached to a seed; pull apart and discard the membrane.

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Line a container with a piece of paper towel and store the arils in the refrigerator. For how long? I have no idea…the arils from one pomegranate are lucky to be in the fridge three days in my home!
I LOVE them with some homemade granola and yogurt; it’s a breakfast I get excited about!

pom-arils6

I don’t use fresh pomegranates for juicing…their beauty for me are the arils (seeds) and the juicy, crunchy goodness that comes from eating them by the handful. LOVE them!

If all else fails and this seems like too much, or you’re like me and can not resist the ease of having someone else do it occasionally? Most stores, including Costco carry packages of arils already removed from the shell and membrane. They are a bit pricey but sometimes that ease is worth it!

french-toast-pomegranate2

Though the pomegranate arils are beautiful, the basic recipe of French toast and cream cheese filling can be used with many fruits; so don’t limit  yourself. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries…the list is endless! Served with any number of fruits and a bit of maple syrup is really good…but I have to say I think this is better! Yes, it’s a sweet treat but the bit of tart zing in pomegranate is a great foil for the sweet elements of the bread and cheese. This is my favorite…remember I wait all year for it!

Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Pomegranate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
For the French Toast:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Butter for frying
  • 4 slices of day old bread; for this I sliced a Challah loaf but I use French bread and in a pinch, my regular sandwich bread.
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 oz of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2-4 Tbsp of milk or half and half
  • 3 Tbsp of powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
To assemble the French Toast:
  • Powdered sugar
  • 1 pomegranate, arils removed
  • Pomegranate (Grenadine) syrup
Instructions
To Make the French Toast:
  1. Combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together and beat until combined (I use my immersion blender in a tall jar).
  2. Melt a dab of butter in a large skillet over medium heat; don't be stingy with the butter!
  3. Pour the French Toast mixture onto a large flat plate with a rim to contain it. Soak each slice on each side in the mixture and then place them in the sizzling butter.
  4. Cook on medium for a minute or two depending on your stove until nicely browned.
  5. Add some additional butter to your skillet and brown the other side.
  6. Continue until all of the slices are finished; keep warm in a 200 degree oven if necessary, covered with foil.
To make the cream cheese filling:
  1. Beat the cream cheese until smooth; add 2 Tbsp milk and sugar alternately until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth; add more milk if necessary to get a spreadable consistency.
To Assemble the stuffed French Toast:
  1. Spread a thick smear of cream cheese on one slice of toast.
  2. Top with second slice; sprinkle with powdered sugar
  3. Garnish generously with pomegranate arils and drizzle the outside edges with pomegranate syrup.
  4. Devour.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jerry | Simply Good Eating February 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm

This is a great french toast recipe idea with pomegranate and also quite versatile too. I also like the picture quality. Just curious if you are using any macro lens to take your shots?
Jerry | Simply Good Eating Most Recent Post: Asian Braised Short Ribs

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2 Creative Culinary February 20, 2013 at 12:55 am

I do use a 50mm macro with a Canon 60D camera. It’s considered the basic and it works just fine for my needs. Thanks so much for your kind comment.

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3 Lilly Sue February 16, 2013 at 9:55 am

Oh wow this looks amazing! Beautiful picture :)

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4 Creative Culinary February 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Thanks so much Lilly Sue; your sweet comment is much appreciated!

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5 Kate | Food Babbles February 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm

This is just lovely, Barb. I am a huge fan of pomegranates and love when I start seeing them. I bet they were the perfect tartness to the sweetness of the stuffed french toast. This had my mouth watering the moment the the pictures loaded on my screen. Wow!
Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Black Forest Cake – Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge

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6 Creative Culinary February 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm

That was it exactly Kate…they added a fun crunch but I like not having things that are overly sweet and they made a great accompaniment to the other elements.

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7 Nancy@acommunaltable February 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

LOL! Another thing we have in common Barb – we make french toast the same way! This definitely is a special occasion french toast! Love the tutorial on seeding pomengranates!
Nancy@acommunaltable Most Recent Post: Sumo Tangerine Cheesecake

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8 Creative Culinary February 15, 2013 at 11:46 am

So many things I just ‘make’ and then have to try and remember the specifics when I blog; it’s getting better, I really suffered when I first started blogging; smacking my head on more than one occasion for sure.

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9 Creative Culinary February 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm

One of those things you just never know if people want to see but if I shied away from them…I sure want to help someone else not make that same mistake right?

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10 Terra February 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

I love this time of year for blood oranges too, but my silly grocery store doesn’t have any yet…..blurgh!!! Your recipe looks fabulous. I adore breakfast and could eat it for every meal:-) I don’t eat french toast enough, I need to change that! Hugs, Terra
Terra Most Recent Post: Belgium Chocolate Cherry Clafoutis

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11 Creative Culinary February 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I just finally saw blood oranges last night at Whole Foods; I’m going to check my local Sprouts first before I buy to see if they are priced better…since I plan to buy them out. :)

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12 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I do the underwater trick too, so much easier that way!

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13 john@kitchenriffs February 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Sometimes figuring out exact measurements is the toughest part about blogging! Great way to clean a pomegranate – I’ll definitely have to try it. And I’ve never had French toast stuffed with cream cheese. But that will change, and soon. Thanks!
john@kitchenriffs Most Recent Post: Shaved Fennel Salad

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14 Suzanne February 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I will use this method next time I clean a pomegranate, I love them but always cringe at the thought of removing the arils. You are so right though once you have tasted those sweet,tart, crunchy, juicy little seeds the painstaking job of removing them becomes well worth the effort. I love your stuffed french toast too!
Suzanne Most Recent Post: Caramelized White Chocolate-Food52 Genius Recipe

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15 Paula February 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Your Challah looks lovely and it does make the best French Toast. This is quite a unique recipe and it certainly makes for a gorgeous picture. Thanks so much for the tutorial on cutting and cleaning a pomegranate!
Paula Most Recent Post: My Corny Valentines – #4

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16 Lora February 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Always looking for creative pomegranate ideas. this is a gorgeous brunch idea. Love!

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17 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen February 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm

B, your Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast looks out-of-this-world delish and the Poms are unexpected yet ideal for a special Valentine’s Day breakfast! And, I agree…making your own grenadine syrup is superior and, thus, avoids artificial coloring. To speed things up, one could use Pom Wonderful. Thank you for the step-by-step and recipe! xo
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen Most Recent Post: Almond Double Thumbprint Heart Cookies {Paleo}

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18 Katherine Martinelli February 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Oh this French toast – wowzas!! It looks so amazing. My friend recently introduced me to this method of cleaning pomegranates and it definitely cuts down on stains!
Katherine Martinelli Most Recent Post: A Valentine’s Day Round-Up and Blog Hop

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19 Holly February 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I am always learning something new from your posts– I had no idea that Grenadine was French for Pomegranate! And I have yet to make anything with pomegranates at home. I thought it would be a hassle to clean the pomegranate but now I understand the steps, thanks to you!
Holly Most Recent Post: Grapefruit Brulee

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20 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme February 13, 2013 at 11:48 am

Such a beautiful Valentine’s breakfast recipe! Or…a lovely weekend breakfast-in-bed.
Lana @ Never Enough Thyme Most Recent Post: Southwestern Style Chicken

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21 Abbe@This is How I Cook February 13, 2013 at 11:38 am

Good instructions! And good recipe! Thanks.

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22 Hannah February 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

Beautiful, Barb! I adore pomegranates and just bought another this morning. I appreciate you sharing this technique for releasing the arils – I usually wing it (and wear a black apron). Now, your French toast is simply stunning and I wish I could dive into a plate for breakfast.
Hannah Most Recent Post: Cardamom-Scented Truffles for Valentine’s Day

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23 Ansh February 13, 2013 at 11:08 am

When I first moved to the US, I was really really disheartened that pomegranates were not readily available. That changed a couple of years later when the divine fruit started to show up in costco. I was Thrilled to see them. Thrilled might be an understatement.

Gorgeous looking french toast!! You should really consider moving to my side of town :D
Ansh Most Recent Post: Banana Walnut Figs Smoothie

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24 Karen Harris February 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

When I was a little girl my favorite aunt had a pomegranate tree in her backyard. I remember all the cousins sitting around picking the arils out of the poms and talking. Long story short my aunt got tired of our stained hands and taught us this method with the garden hose and a Tupperware bowl and voila! No more stained hands. I only wish she would have known how to make this French Toast, boy that would have made for the perfect visit. Great looking recipe Barb.
Karen Harris Most Recent Post: Happy Valentine’s Day 2013: Francois Payard’s Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies

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25 Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

I love pomegranates, this is such a beautiful breakfast!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) Most Recent Post: meyer lemon & strawberry jam crumb bars

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26 Cristina February 13, 2013 at 10:38 am

Beautiful French Toast, Barb. Love it stuffed with the cc and adorned with the pom arils. I want to just reach into the screen and take a bite or two!! :) May try making this for Hubbs this weekend!

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27 Tanya February 13, 2013 at 10:04 am

I don’t remember the last time I have had a pomegranate. This looks really tasty. Maybe Ill make it this weekend.
Tanya Most Recent Post: The Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins for 2012-2013

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28 Creative Culinary February 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

It is delish I promise!

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