1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 cup maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds
8 slices challah bread (each about an inch thick)
1 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
A few sprigs fresh mint (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 250ºF.
In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, and orange liqueur. Toss and reserve. In a small pot, combine the maple syrup and cinnamon stick, and place over medium heat. Reserve warm. Place a large skillet over medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons butter. While the pan is heating up, whisk together the cream, eggs and extracts in a large shallow bowl. Scatter the almonds out on a plate. Dunk 4 bread slices in the egg mixture then lay each piece in the almonds, pressing lightly to coat them on both sides. Cook the slices until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Keep the cooked slices warm in the oven and repeat to cook the remaining 4 slices in the remaining butter.
Serve the French toast topped with a dollop of ricotta, some marinated strawberries and warm syrup. Garnish with mint.