W hite capped mountains, glacial blue rivers and a lone elk standing in stunned surprise as the train leisurely passes through the Rocky Mountains.  This is the section of VIA Rail’s The Canadian train route between Edmonton and Vancouver, where I first enjoyed Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast.

If you purchase a Sleeper Plus ticket, your ticket includes gourmet meals for the duration of your train journey.  You might raise your eyebrows at gourmet meals – on a train?! 🤨 Yeah right!  But let me tell you, it is fine dining!  White tablecloth and something-au-jus with a side you can’t pronounce and you’re not exactly sure what it is but your phone signal isn’t good enough in the mountains to Google it (and where’s the fun in that anyway).  Spoiler alert: whatever it was, it was delicious.

 As delightful as my dinner with the mystery sides was, the decadent brunch the next day was my favourite meal: Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast with Berry Compote, Whipped Cream, Bacon and multiple Mimosas.  When I returned home to Hamilton, Ontario after the end of that trip in the summer of 2016, I just had to recreate this meal.  With the help of Pinterest and Google, I was able to develop a hybrid recipe to recreate this favourite brunch meal of mine.


Last week I received a bottle of maple syrup from Wabanaki Maple and it was the perfect reason to pull out my Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast recipe and treat myself.  Wabanaki Maple is 100% Indigenous female-owned and located on Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), New Brunswick, Canada. 

Their traditional maple syrup is produced using techniques that date back generations.  Long before sugar came with the fur trade, the Indigenous Peoples of the First Nations harvested the savoury sap from the maple trees of Canada.  As the maple moon rose each Spring, the harvest of nature's rich tree sap began.  With healing and nourishing powers, maple syrup has been cherished by First Nations Peoples for centuries.

The texture of the Traditional Maple Syrup from Wabanaki Maple is thinner than the supermarket brand, lighter in colour.  It is smooth and flavourful but not at all overpowering.  It is sweet silk on the tongue; it is perfection.

To properly enjoy my decadent brunch; to bring me back to the swaying motion of the dining car aboard The Canadian, I needed a beautiful place setting.  Enter the gorgeous, handmade pottery of Muraï Céramique of Wakefield, Quebec, Canada.  Marie-Pierre, the hands behind Muraï Céramique, grew up within a family in which arts were a part of the daily life. She learned ceramic from her father, who was a potter, and she continued her exploration during her studies in visual arts, and through personal self-study and experimentation.

Marie is mostly inspired by the power and beauty of nature, an inexhaustible source of mystical experiences. The authenticity of this life in nature can be also found in the direct contact with the material, their transformation, and the magical alchemy of seeing them become usual objects.

Marie-Pierre has handcrafted the most beautiful maple syrup jug which I just had to have for this recipe!  It is available in all four of her prominent glazes (Starry Night, Ocean, Sunset, Dragon).  The handmade maple syrup jug can hold 3 cups – perfect for the family breakfast table.  Extremely versatile, I will be using it as a gravy boat at my Easter dinner and proudly displaying it in my dining room when not in use.  I think that might be the best thing about pottery – it is functional, it is art; I can use it, I can admire it, I can show it off.  And each piece comes with a story, the story of the maker, of the hands in the clay, of the love and hope and enjoyment that goes into handcrafting their Canadian pottery.



  • 4 slices of bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 100g of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • Berries for topping
  • Butter or cooking spray
  • Wabanaki Maple Syrup


  1. Start by preparing the cheesecake mixture. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar to the cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.
  4. Set the bread in the egg mixture and leave for 1 minute or more, flip the bread over so the other side is coated in the egg mixture. Leave for 1 minute or more until the bread is well saturated.
  5. Grease a large frying pan with butter or cooking spray. Set to medium heat.
  6. Fry the egg bread until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side.
  7. Plate one slice of French toast and spread with the cheesecake mixture. Top with a second slice of French toast.  Repeat for the second serving.
  8. Top with berries and maple syrup
  9. Enjoy!
March 15, 2021 — Rhiane Heslop