Le Pain Perdu Recipe
I have been inspired to try this delicious treat once again after reading Paris, My Sweet! by Amy Thomas. At the end of her funny foodie book, she makes a mention of le pain perdu and it goes something like “…just where in the hell is all the French Toast?”
This question was lingering and frankly taunting her after she had spent almost an entire year eating her way through Paris. Turns out that in France french toast is called le pain perdu and is served as dessert not breakfast.
All this talk of French toast jogged my long lost memories of le pain perdu.
My grandmother taught me how to make this scrumptious treat when I was about five years old. I clearly remember cracking the eggs, whisking the eggs, sugar and cinnamon together, pouring the whole thing over chunks of stale baguette type bread and letting the custard really soak in for some time.
We didn’t sear it on a pan though like one would do with le pain perdu. We smothered a baking pan with butter and baked our little treat until it was a fluffy, golden cloud of goodness. We sometimes grated apples into the mix and threw in some rum soaked raisins and pecans (not for the five year old).
My grandmother called this treat “seml baba“. I have no idea what it means or why it was called that but I see that it was another take on le pain perdu and a way to use up stale bread or rolls which happened rather very quickly back in the day!!!
Whether you sear it in a hot, buttery pan or bake in the oven, you can enjoy your creation plain or with a drizzle of some real maple syrup.
My preference is to add a little kick to this dish that goes by the name of Banana Foster. Banana Foster was the creation of a chef at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans (a twist on an old Creole dish) and it makes a killer topping for le pain perdu. Sliced bananas, butter and sugar cinnamon all nice and caramelized in a pan! It’s easy to make and goes good on just about anything. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and there is your Weekend Break-Feast!
You could definitely substitute gluten free baguette style bread and with a bit of adjustment on the amount of liquids, come out with very similar results.
Easy to make and extremely delicious. Enjoy dousing your baguette style bread or buns in a lovely custard made of eggs, milk or cream, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It’s all about the right bread – the baguette!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 cup of milk, cream, or buttermilk (whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup of sugar
6 thick slices of bread (baguette style bread)
Pinch of salt
Butter for pan
Optional but highly recommended:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger (this really adds a nice warm taste)
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
- Whisk the eggs, sugar, and milk together along with the spices.
- Place the bread slices in the custard mix and let them stay there for 30 minutes – the baguette style bread should really absorb the liquid.
- Heat up a pan with a generous slab of butter – once the pan is nice and hot – sear the slices of bread. on both sides or slather a baking dish with butter and bake those slices for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.