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Upside Down Apple French Toast

4 tart (Macintosh or Granny Smith) apples
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large ripe bananas
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 large eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 loaf sturdy white bread (1 inch thick) edges removed, and cubed
Oil a glass 9-inch round baking dish

Peel, core and cut each apple into 3/4-inch-thick wedges. Place the apple wedges in a large mixing bowl, and toss gently with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Peel the bananas, and slice them crosswise 3/4-inch thick. Add the bananas to the apples and toss to coat evenly with lemon juice. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the fruits and toss well to combine.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fruit and saute until tender, about 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and cook until the sugar is dissolved, 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat.

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the milk and vanilla. Spread the bread cubes over the fruit, making sure to cover the fruit entirely. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, press lightly with a spatula to make sure the bread is moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the French toast, uncovered, until the top is golden, 30-35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Place a serving tray over the pan, and carefully turn over to unmold the French toast. Spoon any syrup or fruit left in the pan over the bread, and serve at once.

Serves 6