For the filling:
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
For the toast:
4 thick slices bread, such as challah or soft Italian bread
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
Maple syrup, powdered sugar and additional fresh strawberries for serving
To make the filling, combine the sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside to macerate for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese until well blended.
To prepare the toast, carefully slice a pocket into the center of each slice of bread, taking care not to cut all the way through to the other side. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. In a shallow baking dish or pie plate, whisk together the egg and milk. Whisk in the melted butter and vanilla. Stir in the flour, cinnamon and salt and whisk until smooth. Fill the pocket of each slice of bread with some of the filling mixture. One or two at a time, place the filled slices of bread in the egg mixture, soaking about 30-40 seconds per side. Remove the bread and allow the excess batter to drip off. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining bread slices.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the heated skillet and swirl to coat. Add the filled slices of toast to the skillet in a single layer. Cook until light golden brown and crisp, about 1-2 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, adding more butter to the skillet as needed. Serve immediately with maple syrup, powdered sugar and fresh strawberries as desired.