One 1-pound brioche or challah loaf, cut into 8 thick slices
3/4 cups whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons salted butter; 2 tablespoons melted, 2 tablespoons at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces Brie or triple crème cheese, thinly sliced
8 ripe strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce for drizzling (get recipe below)
Arrange the bread slices on a large baking sheet and let dry while preparing the other ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Add the granulated sugar, flour and salt and whisk to combine. Scrape the batter into a shallow pan, such as a pie dish or cake pan. Set aside.
Heat a stove-top griddle pan or a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, or heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. When the griddle is hot, nestle two slices of the bread in the batter and let soak for 5 seconds, then carefully flip and soak on the second side for another 5 seconds. Transfer the soaked breads to a clean plate. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of the room-temperature butter on the hot griddle and add both pieces of the soaked bread. Cook until the first sides are nicely browned and completely dry to the touch, about 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn the breads.
While the second sides are cooking, arrange 1/4 of the Brie and 1/4 of the strawberries on top of one piece of bread. When the second sides are nicely browned and the Brie is just softened, use the spatula to transfer the bread with the cheese and strawberries to a platter and gently place the other cooked bread on top. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place in a low-temperature oven to keep warm. Repeat to cook and assemble the remaining sandwiches.
Place each sandwich on a plate; cut in half, if desired. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, drizzle with the bourbon sauce, and serve immediately.
Brown Sugar Bourbon Sauce
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the brown sugar and butter together, whisking constantly until smooth. Turn the heat to low and carefully add the cream, bourbon and vanilla (the mixture may boil up at this point, so add the liquids slowly and keep whisking constantly). Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, or until slightly thickened. remove from heat and let the sauce cool for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month. Reheat in a microwave when you’re ready to serve.
Reprinted from Grilled Cheese Kitchen by Heidi Gibson with Nate Pollack with permission by Chronicle Books