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Throwdown's Pumpkin French Toasted Stuffed with Blackberry-Caramel Mascarpone

Serves: 4

Blackberry Caramel
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup blackberry puree
2 teaspoons blackberry liqueur
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blackberries, halved lengthwise

1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat. 
2. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and cook, without stirring, until amber brown, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream, blackberry puree and liqueur and cook until smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and blackberries. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm. 

French Toast
4 large eggs
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon fine salt
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups whole milk, plus more if needed
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum
8 slices DAY OLD challah, sliced 1/2-inch thick (use Zomick’s brand..sold at Whole Foods if possible). You can also use a good quality pain de mie (white bread) or brioche
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cups mascarpone, at room temperature
1 pint blackberries, halved lengthwise
Confectioners’ sugar
Fresh mint sprig

1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a baking sheet in the oven. 
2. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt in a large baking dish until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, spices, milk and ¼ cup of the heavy cream, vanilla and rum and whisk until smooth. 
3. Place four slices of the bread in the custard mixture and let sit for 2 minutes. Carefully turn over the slices and let sit another 2 minutes or until the bread is completely soaked through. Repeat with the remaining bread
4. While the bread is soaking, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick pan or cast iron griddle over medium-high heat until the mixture begins to sizzle. Cook four slices of the bread until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and continue cooking until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Remove to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Wipe out the pan with paper towels and repeat the process with the remaining bread. 
5. Combine the mascarpone and remaining ¼ cup of heavy cream in a bowl and using a whisk, stand mixer or hand-held mixer, mix until fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape into a bowl and fold in a few tablespoons of the blackberry-caramel sauce. Return the caramel to a saucepan and heat over low heat or put in the microwave and microwave for a minute or so to just warm through. 
6. Remove the French toast from the oven, top 4 slices of the toast with a large dollop of the blackberry-caramel mascarpone and some of the blackberries, top with the remaining toast and drizzle with some of the warm blackberry-caramel sauce and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and garnish with fresh mint sprig. 

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