Mascarpone-filled Chocolate French Toast
2 small bananas
1 (16-ounce) tub mascarpone (see Note)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 loaf chocolate pan bread or stale chocolate quick bread (see Note)
10 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for frying
Banana creme brulee sauce:
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small banana
6 to 8 small bananas, sliced
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings
For filling: Break bananas into pieces and place in blender; puree until smooth. Transfer puree to a bowl and add mascarpone and brown sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Cut loaf of chocolate bread in half horizontally.
Spread mascarpone filling on bottom half; replace top half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until filling is stiff, at least 4 or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Slice loaf vertically; set aside.
Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Brush a large skillet with vegetable oil and turn heat to medium. Place a slice of bread into egg mixture and soak for up to a minute. Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown.
Reserve toast on a baking sheet in warm oven while repeating dipping and frying procedure with remaining slices.
For sauce, combine cream, butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Process banana in a blender or food processor until smooth; whisk gradually into cream mixture until smooth and thickened. (The sauce recipe may be halved.)
To serve, divide hot creme brulee sauce among plates, and place a slice of french toast on each plate. Garnish with sliced bananas and chocolate shavings.
Use bittersweet chocolate boule, or make a loaf of a favorite chocolate quick bread recipe. For a non-chocolate version, use a firm white sandwich boule.
Cream cheese may be substituted for mascarpone.
MAKES 12 TO 16 SERVINGS