This special dish was created in 1918 and is perhaps the best French Toast recipe ever! It was served to passengers in the dining car of the Santa Fe Railroad. This item consistently topped the "most popular" list while it remained on their menu. A coworker gave me this recipe in the late 1970s. It's so good! I usually reserve it for special occasion breakfasts or brunches. The baking step makes the center so fluffy that the French Toast practically melts in your mouth.
The night before, whip together the cream, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until frothy.
If the bread is not pre-sliced, then slice the bread into 3/4-inch slices. Then cut each bread slice diagonally from bottom corner to opposite top corner, to make triangle-shaped pieces.
Soak bread in the cream mixture overnight. (If the bread is really soft, reduce the soaking time to 2 hours.) If slices float to the top, push them down with another slice of bread, until all slices are completely covered by the cream mixture. Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, lightly brown both sides of each bread slice in a skillet. Then place the browned slices on a lightly buttered baking sheet.
Bake in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle the tops with ground cinnamon and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Serve immediately with maple syrup, fresh fruit, or your favorite fruit preserves.
TIP - the original recipe calls for pain perdu, or "lost bread" in French which suggests making use of last night's leftover bread. Day-old, thick-sliced bread works best and holds up to soaking much better than thinly-sliced fresh, soft breads.