Food + Wine

Baked Sweet and Savories

I woke up before everyone else this morning and had ample time to think about food. I’ve been making sure every one of our meals is made with intention these days – focusing on not wasting and repurposing as much as possible, and getting even more creative with the meals than I normally do.

I mentioned last post that I have already written down all that I have in my fridge, freezer, pantry, etc. and mapped out what needs to be used first and various meal ideas. So I knew I had a loaf of cinnamon bread from a neighbor a few months back waiting patiently in my freezer.

< thought bubbles >

Obviously the first thought with such a bread would be french toast… but this loaf was pre-sliced and I actually don’t like french toast unless it’s super thick pieces, because I love the insides being tender from the custard and the outsides being crispy.

Sandwiches. It must be sandwiches.

I love a Croque Monsieur, a Croque Madame, and a Monte Cristo like nobody’s business. There’s always an element of sweet and savory to them, and I’m such a sucker for that combo in almost anything. When my husband and I were first dating in college, we would go to the Bennigans on College Road in Wilmington on a fairly regular basis. He would get the Turkey O’Toole (best turkey and cheese sandwich on the best pretzel roll ever) and I would get the World Famous Monte Cristo.

Holy hell, y’all.

I had never had such a thing and I swear that’s probably where I developed my super love for all things sweet and savory.

So this is sort of where my head was when developing breakfast for my family this morning. But I also did not want to be a line cook – making individual breakfasts as the family started waking up. I also don’t deep-fry in my house. SO. I had the idea of doing it in a baking dish, like baked french toast.

And yes. Yes, it was a good idea.

Really, all you’re doing is making turkey and cheese sandwiches on a sweet bread, lining them up in a baking dish and then pouring a custard over the top before baking. It’s so easy. It’s so satisfying.

It’s seriously perfect.

The top gets golden brown and crispy and the bottom layer has more tenderness from the custard-soaking… the cheese gets melty and gooey… the turkey gives it depth… the delicate sweetness of the bread balances it all out and goodNESS, y’all.

Also how ’bout the pic my husband took of the damn thing making you want to climb in your screen and take a bite🤤.

thanks, boo💋

And hey, listen – please, please, please substitute what you have in your kitchen to make this work for you. That’s how all of these recipes come to me anyway, and really don’t want you going out right now. I’ll give you ideas on substitutes below 🙂

BAKED SWEET AND SAVORIES

a . k . a

Baked French Toast Style Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches on Cinnamon Bread !

serves 6 large portions, or up to 12 small

You will need :

  • 1 standard sized loaf of cinnamon bread (or another sweet, sturdy yeast bread you happen to have – challah, brioche, various fruit breads, hawaiian bread…or just some sandwich bread!..you can always add more sugar to the custard.) And it needs to be sliced into at least 12 pieces)
  • 1 (8oz) brick of *extra sharp* cheddar cheese, grated (sub gruyere, swiss, havarti… basically anything melty and bonus points if it has a bit of a sharp bite to it)
  • 1 (8 oz) package of thinly sliced deli turkey (or ham! or leftover sliced pork tenderloin, etc!)
  • 2 TB unsalted butter, softened or melted
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1 cup milk / cream / half&half or a combo of what you happen to have on hand. Also sometimes I add Greek yogurt or sour cream to the mix if I have some of that open that needs to be used)
  • Rounded 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon if your bread is not cinnamon bread 

You will do :

  • Preheat your oven to 425° (I used the convection setting on my oven)
  • Butter a 9×13 in glass baking dish with half of your softened / melted butter, reserving the other half for brushing the tops before baking
  • Lay down 6 pieces of the thinly sliced cinnamon bread
  • Top each with a small handful of the grated cheese – make sure it’s an equal amount for each and there’s enough to repeat this step again after the meat layer
  • Top with about 4 slices of the deli meat- making it equal per slice
  • Add the remaining cheese to top each equally 
  • Top each with another slice of the bread. 
  • Using a pastry brush, or rubber spatula, brush the bread tops with the remaining butter. 
  • In a mixing bowl, beat your eggs, add your milk / cream, etc., whisk until smooth.
  • Season custard with the salt and sugar (adding a double amount if your bread isn’t sweet), and the nutmeg and the optional cinnamon. Whisk again.
  • Optional step – carefully flip the sandwiches one time to get more of an even soak on each side.
  • Place in the 425° preheated oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown, the custard has been soaked up completely, and the cheese is gooey on the inside. 
  • Note – I used the convection setting on my oven, making it cooks quicker. Your oven could take up to 30 minutes.

If you’re more patient than me, you will allow it to cool and set a bit, otherwise dig right in and serve it up. Slice each sandwich diagonally for a prettier presentation, unless you’re me and just eat it like a caveman.

Cool any leftovers down completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the oven until crispy and melty again.

thanks for reading, y’all. much love xx

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