Moist yet crusty ciabatta and nutty Gruyère cheese set this dish apart from traditional French toast. A vegetable peeler works great for getting thin slices out of the cheese. Rome or Fuji apples would also work.
1/4 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 cups sliced McIntosh apples
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 (2-ounce) slices ciabatta bread
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 large egg white
4 teaspoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
How to Make It
Combine cider and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the cider mixture, apples, and syrup to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cook 3 minutes or until apples begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Set aside, and keep warm.
Cut a horizontal slit through bottom crust of each bread slice to form a pocket; stuff 1/2 ounce cheese evenly into each pocket. Combine fat-free milk, buttermilk, and next 5 ingredients (through egg white) in a shallow dish, stirring well with a whisk. Working with 1 stuffed bread slice at a time, place bread slice into milk mixture, turning gently to coat both sides.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in pan. Add 3 coated bread slices to pan, and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 teaspoons butter and remaining 3 coated bread slices.
Place 1 French toast slice onto each of 6 plates; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons sauce and 1 1/2 teaspoons pecans.