Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
Here, tender challah bread is cut extra-thick so each piece can be easily sliced to form a pocket to be filled with a creamy, fragrant pumpkin mixture and a crunch of nuts. It is a weekend breakfast that is full of autumnal flavor and just rich enough to hit the spot, but still in the good-for-you zone.
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup low-fat milk (1 percent)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Four 1-inch thick slices challah bread, preferably whole-wheat (6 ounces total; may substitute brioche)
Oil or butter, for coating the pan
Toast the nuts in a large, dry nonstick skillet over a medium-low heat, until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan a few times to avoid scorching. Transfer them to a cutting board to cool, then coarsely chop.
Stir together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a bowl, until smooth.
Whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a shallow baking dish or wide bowl, until well incorporated.
Slice each piece of bread almost all the way in half, leaving one side intact, to form a pocket. Spread one-fourth of the cream cheese mixture in each bread pocket, then stuff each of the pockets with a scant tablespoon of the toasted chopped nuts and press lightly to seal.
Brush the same skillet with oil or coat it lightly with butter then heat it over medium heat.
Dip each piece of stuffed bread into the milk-egg mixture until well coated, then place in the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and warmed throughout the middle. Discard any remaining egg mixture.
Serve warm, drizzled with maple syrup and topped with the remaining nuts.
Makes 4 Servings
Per serving (using three fourths of the milk mixture): Calories 320; Total Fat 20g; (Sat Fat 4g); Protein 10g; Carb 25g; Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 135mg; Sodium 350mg; Total Sugar 10g