Croque Madame French Toast Cups

Posted on 06/05/2012 by layers_of_eli
These little Croque Madame French Toast Cups take two messy dishes -- a traditional croque madame and French toast -- and combine them in finger food format. Apart from being more convenient to serve and eat at a brunch or breakfast, they're outright adorable. I love the gorgeous flavor of Gruyère in each cup, but if you're on a budget you can use good Swiss. Make sure to buy good quality ham, though, because it really makes the dish.

Croque Madame French Toast Cups

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yield: 8 cups

1/2 cup heavy cream, plus 8 teaspoons, divided
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs plus 4-8 eggs, divided (see note below)
2 tablespoons honey, microwaved for 20 seconds (but not while still IN THE BEAR, y’all!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 slices day-old or stale sandwich bread
4 tablespoons butter
a couple of slices good ham
a couple of slices Gruyère cheese (or Swiss) and some grated for topping
salt and pepper

Note: Cracking the egg over each French toast cup before baking is the hardest part of this recipe, because a whole egg has too much liquid and overflows the cup. I'll tell you what I did to get the right amount of egg in each cup, and then I'll make a suggestion for how you might be able to do it even easier. What I did is crack the egg and pry it open just enough to let half the white and half the yolk slip into one French toast cup (using the shell to reserve the other half of the egg). I then released the other half of the egg over another cup. I think it'd be even easier, though, to just crack 8 eggs into a wide bowl and use a spoon to scoop a yolk and a little white out into each French toast cup. You'd end up using more eggs, but this way each cup will have a whole yolk, which is lovely!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, honey, cinnamon, and salt (this step can be done the night before and refrigerated). When you’re ready to cook your French toast, pour this mixture into a cake pan or pie dish.

Prepare your bread by removing the crusts (I stack the slices and use a long serrated knife to remove all the crusts at once) and roll each slice with a rolling pin to slightly flatten and elongate it. Dip each slice of bread into your custard mixture for about 8-10 seconds on each side before carefully removing it with a spatula to a cooling rack over a sheet pan or over the sink. Allow the excess moisture to drain off of the slices for 1-2 minutes.

To cook French toast, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a skillet. Put 2 slides of bread at a time into the pan and toast gently to golden brown (about 2-3 minutes per side). Remove the French toast to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with all the slices of bread, replenishing butter in the pan as needed. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. When the French toast is cool enough to handle, take each piece and gently tuck it into the well of a greased muffin tin, forming a bowl. Tuck some ham and Gruyère cheese in each cup. Place an egg over top (see above note). Lightly salt and pepper each cup and then top each egg with 1 teaspoon heavy cream.

Bake the cups at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, watching carefully. Pull them out when the white is set but the yolk is not fully cooked through (has a little jiggle.) Top each cup with a little shredded Gruyère when they're hot from the oven. Set them out to cool and continue cooking from their residual heat (at least 10 minutes). Use a knife to loosen the edges from the pan and remove them to a serving plate (if they seem to be wobbly, leave them in the pan a little longer). Serve them warm on a bed of maple syrup.

To hear about why I spent an entire class period laughing at my students' writing, learn about the dangers of being "thesaurusy," and see more photos, please head over to Willow Bird Baking!

x-posted to food_porn, cooking, picturing_food, and bakebakebake
rowangolightly 6th-Jun-2012 02:55 am (UTC)
OH MY, those look good! My new sweetie would groan about the fat but I know he'd love them. "Moderation in all things, including moderation" is my motto.
layers_of_eli 6th-Jun-2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Mine too, for sure! :) Thank you!
queerlyobscure 6th-Jun-2012 07:43 am (UTC)
Just followed this recipe and it is fantastic :D - you rock for posting it!
layers_of_eli 6th-Jun-2012 10:43 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you! So glad you enjoyed it!!
elvisisdead 7th-Jun-2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
wow! i'll definitely be trying this :)
layers_of_eli 7th-Jun-2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Hope you love it :)
asilonline 11th-Jul-2012 06:51 am (UTC)
Hope you love it :)
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