Pain Perdu – Lost and Found Again


What better way to start a new cooking blog than with breakfast!

I love having a weekend morning that I can dedicate to stretching my breakfast into brunch. While a weekday’s breakfast might be a bowl of oatmeal or Greek yogurt and fruit, weekends offer the opportunity for pancakes, baked eggs or French toast.

French toast is something that I haven’t made in the year+ I’ve been living in London. I wish I had a good reason for it, but I was really just too into sharing the joys of American pancakes to even consider French toast. Some weekends, though, I just need a break from carbs for… a different type of carbs.

What many people know as French toast is actually called Pain Perdu in France (and quite a few other French-speaking places) and it’s a slightly different style than French toast. Where French toast is exclusively cooked on a griddle or in a skillet, pain perdu is often baked. And while French toast is usually served with butter and syrup, pain perdu is served with honey, creme anglaise, fruit, or even jam.

As a first-timer, I kept it simple with a bit of butter and honey. Next time: summer berries. The nearly-lost bread was a sourdough baguette left over from dinner. It worked nicely, though it requires a lot more soaking time than sliced bread with a wider surface area.

I liked this recipe a lot because it’s baked rather than fried, and there’s much less risk of having bread that tastes more like scrambled eggs than it does custard.

Now, on to the recipe!

Serves: 4, with 5 pieces each

On the Counter:

  • 20 slices of baguette
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
  • salt to taste
  • butter, honey or other topping of choice

What to Do:

Preheat oven to 205°C/400°F. Butter an oven-proof dish or cookie sheet. In a bowl, beat the eggs together with salt, sugar, milk, and vanilla.

Pour into a large, flat-bottomed dish. Put the bread slices into the dish to soak up some of the egg mixture.

Turn them over with a spatula, letting them soak long enough to have taken in the mix, but not so long that they begin to fall apart. (It took me about 1 minute per side, with a little bit of squishing, but my baguette was quite dense.)

Gently move the soaked bread slices to the buttered dish/sheet. Spoon any of the remaining mixture over the slices.

Place the dish in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes total. After the first 10 minutes, turn the slices over so they brown evenly on both sides.

Serve immediately with your toppings of choice.

It looks amazing straight out of the oven. Golden, sweet and ready to be eaten. It was hard to wait to get them to the table!

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