What has a slight crisp on the outside and is incredibly light and fluffy on the inside, with an extensive choice of toppings; from healthy fresh fruits and whole grains to the more decadent maple syrup, whipped cream, and everything in between? Pain Perdu (French Toast) of course! Take your breakfast or brunch to the next level by whipping up this awesome treat in no time with just a couple of ingredients, and enjoy the rich and buttery yumminess of a delectable French Toast.
Can we talk about pain perdu for a minute?
This is a quick and easily customizable little slice of heaven where everything is sliced, mixed, and cooked to perfection! If you are on a strict diet, or any sort of strict meal plan for health or personal reasons, this recipe could be as decadent as you desire, and serve as your cheat meal, or stay on your healthy course and pack your recipe with whole grains and fruits and still enjoy its deliciousness.
Pain Perdu otherwise known as French toast is one of my favourite things to have for breakfast or brunch. It is crispy on the outside and incredibly light, and fluffy on the inside; then all that’s left to do is pick your toppings of choice, from a simple drizzle of warm maple syrup or some chopped fresh fruit, to a decadent addition of caramelized fruits or a shower of powdered sugar… utterly scrumptious!!!
French toasts can vary so wildly from homey and simple, to lavish and grande; but the basic recipe still stays the same. It is basically thick slices of soft bread dipped in custard and fried in some butter. No complicated ingredients need to be added to a French toast recipe, just simple bread, eggs, whole milk, or heavy cream (you can use a dairy-free alternative like almond or coconut milk), vanilla extract, a pinch of cinnamon, and salt.
I am normally not a breakfast person, so often times I just skip breakfast totally or at most settle for a smoothie or granola, yoghurt, and fruit parfait. However, during the weekends (especially Sundays) I love to enjoy a very late, long, and lazy brunch with my beloved. And who says brunch for me says French toast. Yes, deviled eggs and Bellinis or mimosas are usually very present, but nothing beats a very dreamy, buttery, and decadent French toast that’s basically begging for some maple syrup and fresh or caramelized fruits, and dusted with powdered sugar on top.
The beauty of French toast is that once you’ve got the custard down, you can change up the type of bread used for this recipe. When it comes to the type of bread to use, any thick (preferably 1 inch) cut bread you have on hand will do just fine — Regular Sandwich Bread, French Bread, Challah, Sourdough, etc — so long as the bread does not absorb too much of the egg custard which would result in a soggy French toast or bread that falls apart during the cooking process because of a very fine crumb. No bueno!
Thanks to my extreme love for French toast I have consumed quite a fair amount, either made by myself or someone else and in my opinion, you will always obtain the best French toast with brioche bread. The basic concept of dipping bread in eggs and pan-frying it is the same, but you take brunch to a whole new level when you make French toast with brioche bread. It’s the best option hands down. It is rich, buttery, fluffy, thick enough to hold up to the milk and egg custard yet stays firm enough to pick up with a fork. Brioche cooks to a finished dish with a crisped outside and a soft, creamy inside, which results in the most amazing French toast. It is definitely a very indulgent bread, but SO worth it!
But if you can’t lay your hands on any brioche or you are just trying to go for a healthier option, sprouted bread is a great choice or just any healthier bread that you love. French bread creates a crusty, sturdy French Toast, so if you are using French bread, you may need to soak it in the batter for a little longer before frying.
Ingredients Needed For Pain Perdu
Basic French toast only contains a handful of staple ingredients, making it a really convenient breakfast any day of the week!
⊕ Thickly-sliced bread — French toast is called ‘Pain Perdu’ by the French which means lost bread because they typically use stale a.k.a “lost” bread for this recipe. Day-old bread or stale bread is actually better for French toast because it will soak up the French toast batter better. So if you know you are going to make French toast, buy your bread a day or two in advance and buy it by the loaf – never sliced — so you can cut slices that are as thick as you want them.
⊕ Eggs — Together with the milk, the eggs make up the custard and they form a crust around the bread.
⊕ Milk — Whole milk is preferred, but whatever milk you have on hand is still OK. Even lactose-free or non-dairy alternatives such as almond or coconut milk are fine. If you want the mixture to be thicker, you can use heavy cream or half and half instead of the milk, but this will add calories and fat, so that is something to keep in mind before making that choice.
⊕ Butter — melted on the griddle for cooking and then add a pat for serving, if desired.
⊕ Cinnamon — Optional. You can omit the cinnamon if you prefer or add more for a more pronounced cinnamon French Toast; it adds a hint of warmth and spice to your French toast.
⊕ Sweetener — optional, if you like your toast a bit sweeter. You definitely have options for the sweetener (honey, maple syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, etc) to use based on your personal preferences.
⊕ Vanilla extract — rounds out the flavour profile.
⊕ Salt — just a pinch to enhance the flavours.
♦ In a shallow bowl or pie plate, make the custard batter by whisking together eggs, milk, vanilla, pinch of salt, and cinnamon (or nutmeg). If you want a sweet batter, add in some sugar or honey to the mixture. You may even whip the entire mixture in a blender.
Tip: This custard can be prepared the night before, poured into an airtight container, and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, stir the batter to combine well and then proceed with the recipe below.
♦ Heat a non-stick griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat or to 350°F. (To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, then the heat is just right.)
♦ Dip the bread slices, one at a time into the egg mixture and let soak for 10 seconds on each side. Don’t leave the bread in the mixture too long or it will get soggy. Remove from egg mixture, letting excess drip off.
♦ Grease griddle or pan with a knob of butter and let it melt. Place the soaked pieces of bread onto the hot buttery pan. Cooking the French toast in butter will give it extra flavour and create a nice golden-brown crust.
♦ Cook until the bottom is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the type of bread and its thickness. Turn over to cook the other side until browned and adjust heat as needed so your toasts cook through but do not burn.
♦ Remove the bread from the pan and place on the middle rack in the oven for 5 minutes so the French Toast doesn’t become soggy.
♦ Repeat with remaining slices, adding more butter as needed. If you are cooking a large batch, keep cooked slices warm by transferring to a baking sheet and holding in 200˚F (100˚C) oven while cooking the remaining slices, but try not to leave them in there for too long or they will dry out.
♦ French toast is best served fresh and hot, so serve immediately and top with your favourite toppings.
TOP TIP: You can make a large batch of French toast and freeze some to enjoy another day. After cooking your French toast, let cool completely, then stack the cooled French toast slices with parchment paper in between to keep the slices of bread from sticking to each other. Then place in an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for no more than 2 months for optimal freshness. When ready to warm up you do not need to thaw. Just simply place in a single layer on a baking sheet, cover with foil and bake in 350º F oven for 10 minutes or pop individual slices in the toaster oven until heated through.
So, if you have some old bread lying around your pantry or fridge, whip up this awesome deliciousness in your kitchen in no time. You can have it for breakfast, brunch or dessert – your choice. Have some powdered cinnamon sugar dusted on it or some pure maple syrup or honey drizzled on it if you have a sweet tooth, or with a dollop of cream, jam, butter, or chunks of fresh or compote of seasonal fruits as toppings. If you like some crunch, add in some crushed nuts, praline or grated coconut to your toppings. That is another beauty of French toasts – its wide array of possible toppings
If you are a health nut and still want to enjoy your French toast, there are several ways to tweak the recipe for it to be more friendly around your waistline. You could use a type of bread which is packed with healthy grains, high in fibre and nutrients, and top with fresh fruit, healthy nuts and seeds. If you want to add milk to your batter, use coconut or almond milk instead of cream or full-fat milk, and swap the refined sugars for natural sweeteners.
So whichever way you want to enjoy your French Toasts, go ahead and indulge. As mentioned above, this is my ideal brunch right here. A stack of perfectly cooked Pain Perdu doused in maple syrup and homemade berry sauce from a whole assortment of berries, blistered on a hot pan to make some syrup or sauce out of them as shown in the video above. This is such an amazing treat for breakfast in bed or on a special day like an anniversary or valentine’s day with your loved one.
When making pain perdu for guests, I like to make it more decadent than usual. I love to caramelize some peaches or apples in some brown sugar and bourbon or rum to pour over the French toast in addition to some chopped pecans and cream. Ugggghhhhh HEA-VEN! This is an excellent idea for a great fruity dessert or a sweet addition to your brunch menu. There’s just something special about this rich and delicious Pain Perdu drizzled with warm maple syrup which is so decadent that the whole family is certain to love; a meal that will fill their spirits as much as their bodies. What’s your go-to breakfast/brunch carb of choice? Sound off in the comments below!