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Pain Perdu

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place uncovered bread out on counter the night before you intend to prepare.
  2. Make sprinkle: Stir brown sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and place next to stovetop.
  3. Prepare custard: Combine all of the ingredients for the custard in a bowl and whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  4. Soak bread: Transfer mixture to a shallow dish. Lay bread into dish and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Turn slices over and soak for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Place large skillet on stovetop set to moderate heat. Add butter and melt until sizzling. Carefully add the soaked slices of bread to the pan and fry for 3 minutes. Flip over and sprinkle the top with half the quantity of the sugar mixture. Cook the bread for an additional 3 minutes. Flip the bread again and sprinkle the other side with the remaining sugar. Cook for 1 minute. Flip one last time and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer to warmed plates and serve immediately with jam, a dusting of icing sugar or maple syrup.
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Pain Perdu

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French bread soaked in sweetened milk, cream and eggs, then pan-fried in butter with a crispy finish of caramelized brown sugar and cinnamon…

  • clock icon
    23 MIN
  • 2 SERVINGS
Pain Perdu French Toast

It’s your step-by-step foolproof guide to PAIN PERDU, the famed French toast!

Ready? Because this perfect recipe for PAIN PERDU, or French toast, “ce fait tomber vos chaussettes!” No, seriously! I am not joking, it WILL knock your socks off. Ok, it’s a breakfast recipe, so if you’re in slippers, they’ll pop off too, LOL!

But first, I wanna say thank you. Thank you for making Weekend at the Cottage your go-to site for easy, delicious food and drink recipes. We know you want the best and we work hard and with great passion to get things right for you! With this post, it took three back-to-back production days in the test kitchen to nail it. Yours truly had to try each and every one. It was a tough go, but I did it all for you! (More please! Joking… not joking!)

Make this recipe exactly as written and be ready to sit down and eat it toute suite (right away), as soon as the PAIN PERDU goes from skillet to plate. Then, SHARE the recipe with friends and PIN it to a favourite board. Like us, you’ll want your family and friends to know about this tasty breakfast idea.

Prelude is done, let’s make PAIN PERDU!

Ingredients for Pain Perdu

GOOD MORNING

Most good mornings begin on the chilled side, am I right? This might be the easiest recipe to replicate thanks to the use of ingredients we have on hand for most weekends. The two things on the list you absolutely must have; a “past-its-prime” French bread and 35% cream. More about the cream in a second. Let’s continue though with the importance of bread to this recipe.

Pieces of brioche placed out on the counter to dry out

LOST BREAD

PAIN PERDU literally translates to “lost bread”, and berets off to the ingenious and resourceful French for envisioning this. Seems the recipe evolved as a way of putting day-old, past-its-prime bread to good use. Instead of simply discarding it, they figured out how turn it into something the entire world now enjoys, French toast!

Just double the custard to make 8 slices of bread

We suggest using a brioche or French loaf for the recipe; you want a bread with a bit of texture. We’re also pushing the need for the bread to be dry or somewhat stale. You’re going to need to leave it out on the counter uncovered the night before for best results. Please note; the recipe was written using four slices of bread to serve two, so if you use eight slices to serve four, simply double the custard portion of the recipe. It’s a great weekend recipe for family and friends. 

The stale bread soaking up the custard mixture

CUSTARD

One of the game changers about this recipe is the way the bread is prepared before being placed in the pan. For years, I simply whisked up a couple eggs, dipped bread in it and then, cooked it up in butter. In my mind, that was French toast. But PAIN PERDU is so much more. Where we make a rich custard with eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. We then took it to the next level by also adding 35% cream into the mix. What to expect? Honestly, a silky creme caramel kept coming to mind when we ate it. It’s silky and very creamy.

So here’s your PAIN PERDU-French Toast fun fact; stale bread is to custard as a sponge is to water. It soaks it all up. So, this is such an important step where we give the bread time to soak up that sweetened egg, milk and cream mixture. The slices of bread will become quite heavy, so don’t try to move them from the soaking dish to the skillet with a fork or it will just fall apart. Instead, use a pan-friendly flipper and slide it in.

The custard soaked bread pan-fried

PAN-FRY

One of my favourite pieces of cookware in the cottage kitchen is my large skillet, link to purchase down below. I use it for FRIED RICE, our SAUTÉED CAULIFLOWER and our PASTA PRIMAVERA. It performs perfectly in this recipe where we need to pan-fry the bread. The even heat distribution in a heavy skillet such as this allows that sizzling butter to cook the toast to golden perfection. Nice tool to have and a good technique to master.

Sprinkling the sugar mixture onto the bread

SUGAR ’N SPICE

Everything nice seems to happen with great purpose in this recipe. The sprinkling of a mix of brown sugar and ground cinnamon on the bread right before the third and fourth flips is about colour and flavour. The deep almost amber coloured caramelized coating that happens gives the PAIN PERDU a flavour you’ll remember well after you’re done. An hour after enjoying it we were all still like, “Man, was that ever delish!”

Pain Perdu

BON APPÉTIT!

Please do us a favour and set the table for breakfast before beginning the recipe. Get juice glasses filled, prepare some FRUIT SALAD for the side, decide on coffee and tea, think these details through. The PAIN PERDU has a bit of soufflé action going on when you first transfer it from skillet to the plate, so any delay and it’ll deflate. Ideally you want to enjoy that first bite right away. 

Adding maple syrup to the top

Having a favourite jam, icing sugar or the thing we always serve in cottage country, pure Canadian maple syrup, is also really good with this. No final suggestion on what to do with leftovers because there won’t be any, know what I’m saying? That in itself says a lot!

PAIN PERDU, French toast the way it was meant to be.

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Pain Perdu

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Products used in this recipe

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Pain Perdu

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of stale bread
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • For the custard:
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup 35% cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • To sprinkle:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Place uncovered bread out on counter the night before you intend to prepare.
  2. Make sprinkle: Stir brown sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and place next to stovetop.
  3. Prepare custard: Combine all of the ingredients for the custard in a bowl and whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  4. Soak bread: Transfer mixture to a shallow dish. Lay bread into dish and leave to soak for 5 minutes. Turn slices over and soak for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Place large skillet on stovetop set to moderate heat. Add butter and melt until sizzling. Carefully add the soaked slices of bread to the pan and fry for 3 minutes. Flip over and sprinkle the top with half the quantity of the sugar mixture. Cook the bread for an additional 3 minutes. Flip the bread again and sprinkle the other side with the remaining sugar. Cook for 1 minute. Flip one last time and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer to warmed plates and serve immediately with jam, a dusting of icing sugar or maple syrup.

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