Pain Perdu
(Decadent French Toast)

As printed in Napa Valley Life Magazine “Cooking with Karen Crouse” Winter 2022

Pain Perdu (pronounced pan par-due) means “lost or wasted bread.” This recipe cleverly transforms otherwise wasted stale bread into a French Toast cooked to golden crisp, buttery perfection with a rich custard interior. Pain Perdu is a decadent option for Sunday brunch and classic addition to all Mardi Gras gatherings.

Number of Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Equipment Needed: medium-size bowl, whisk, spatula, large skillet

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I like Nielsen–Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter (I like unsalted Kerigold)
  • 8 slices day-old Batard or Sweet French Baguette – cut at least ¾’ thick
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  • ½ pint Fresh fruit (I like strawberries)
  • Crème Fraiche or Whipped Cream for topping

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt until it is fully blended. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, and cinnamon

In a large skillet, melt 2 ½ tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add 4 slices of bread to the egg mixture. Let it soak until it is saturated but not falling apart. The staler the bread, the longer it will need to soak.

Place the bread in the skillet and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook another 3-4 minutes. You want the bread to be golden brown on both sides.

Transfer the bread to an oven-safe plate and keep it warm in the oven.

Add the remaining butter to the skillet and repeat with the rest of the bread and egg mixture.

Transfer the pain perdu to four plates, dust each with confectioners sugar, top with strawberries and add a dollop of crème fraiche or whipped cream.

Serve with a Mimosa, Kir Royale, or champagne with seasonal berries afloat. Bon Appetit!

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Tip

The secret to achieving the custard-like texture is stale thick-cut bread. The thickness and hard texture allow the bread to absorb the egg mixture without disintegrating.

Pain Perdu
(Decadent French Toast)

As printed in Napa Valley Life Magazine “Cooking with Karen Crouse” Winter 2022

Pain Perdu (pronounced pan par-due) means “lost or wasted bread.” This recipe cleverly transforms otherwise wasted stale bread into a French Toast cooked to golden crisp, buttery perfection with a rich custard interior. Pain Perdu is a decadent option for Sunday brunch and classic addition to all Mardi Gras gatherings.

Number of Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Equipment Needed: medium-size bowl, whisk, spatula, large skillet

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I like Nielsen–Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter (I like unsalted Kerigold)
  • 8 slices day-old Batard or Sweet French Baguette – cut at least ¾’ thick
  • Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
  • ½ pint Fresh fruit (I like strawberries)
  • Crème Fraiche or Whipped Cream for topping
Print Recipe and Shopping List

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt until it is fully blended. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, and cinnamon

In a large skillet, melt 2 ½ tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add 4 slices of bread to the egg mixture. Let it soak until it is saturated but not falling apart. The staler the bread, the longer it will need to soak.

Place the bread in the skillet and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook another 3-4 minutes. You want the bread to be golden brown on both sides.

Transfer the bread to an oven-safe plate and keep it warm in the oven.

Add the remaining butter to the skillet and repeat with the rest of the bread and egg mixture.

Transfer the pain perdu to four plates, dust each with confectioners sugar, top with strawberries and add a dollop of crème fraiche or whipped cream.

Serve with a Mimosa, Kir Royale, or champagne with seasonal berries afloat. Bon Appetit!

Tip

The secret to achieving the custard-like texture is stale thick-cut bread. The thickness and hard texture allow the bread to absorb the egg mixture without disintegrating.