Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pain Perdu (known in the US as French Toast)

Pain Perdu, which means literally "forgotten bread," is typically served as a dessert in France, which is why it's in the dessert section of Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris.

I've made a few changes because when we made it for our Valentine's Day brunch in 2009, it wasn't quite right. This recipe makes six hearty slices of french toast.


4 extra large eggs
6 slices of challah
1 T Grand Marnier
1 C half and half
A splash of milk as needed
1 T honey
1 1/2 t sugar
1 t almond extract (or try next time half almond, half vanilla)
1/2 t grated orange zest
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 C sliced blanched almonds

The night before, take the bread out (and put in a gas oven) to dry it out, or use stale bread (which is why it's called pain perdu in France--it's one thing you do with leftover stale bread)

In a large mixing bowl (ideally, with a pouring spout), whisk the eggs, milk, honey, sugar Grand Marnier, almond extract, orange zest, and salt. Pour mixture into a shallow flat pan or baking dish.

Put butter on griddle and heat it up. Preheat the oven to 250.

Soak a few slices for 4 minutes, turning once. Sprinkle the first side with sliced almonds while the second is soaking.

Butter griddle, turn to medium, and place soaked bread almond side UP. Cook at medium on each side until golden brown (slow cooking allows the bread to brown and the inside to cook). While these are cooking, soak a few more pieces. When the first batch is done, place in the oven to keep warm. And so on.

Serve hot with fruit (like strawberries or blueberries), confectioner's sugar and/or maple syrup.

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