Last weekend I decided I was making French toast, and so I picked up some French bread, thinking it might be fun to go fancier than our standard whole grain sandwich loaf. Lo and behold, when I went searching for something a little more interesting than my standard French toast, I came across a recipe for a New Orleans style pain perdu, calling specifically for French bread. And Mardi Gras was coming. And I am a food blogger. So clearly that was the recipe I had to make.
I found the recipe in Bill and Cheryl Jamison’s A Real American Breakfast: The Best Meal of the Day, Any Time of the Day. Pain perdu is, of course, French for the concept of French toast (a fact that is somewhat ironic if you ask me), but the literal translation is “lost bread,” and the concept of French toast (or pain perdu) is not French in origin. Go figure. In France, pain perdu would be a dessert, but in New Orleans, pain perdu is breakfast, just like French toast is everywhere else in America. And the secret “N’Awlins” ingredient? Booze of course.
Amusingly, Sammy, who dislikes the French toast I eat quite happily at our local breakfast place, adored this. Alex and I did too, but that was to be expected since we are French toast fiends. As for Sammy, I don’t know if it was the je ne sais quoi from the Irish whiskey or if it was the crusty French bread, but she pronounced this better than any French toast she had had before. She downed 2 thick slices–and she had not even been planning to eat any!
Closely adapted from Bill and Cheryl Jamison.
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup 1-2% milk
- 1-2 T good Irish whiskey (I used 1 because of kids)
- 1 T vanilla
- 2 T sugar
- 1/2 t fine sea salt
- 6-7 slices of French bread, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
- 1-2 T unsalted butter
- 1-2 T vegetable oil
- powdered sugar for dusting
- maple syrup for serving
The more stale your bread, the better, but I just left my bread out overnight and this worked fine.
Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, Irish whiskey, vanilla, sugar and salt. Pour into a shallow, wide bowl.
Soak each slice of bread for about 10 minutes--flip it halfway through if need be to saturate both sides. However, you do not want the bread to be falling apart.
Heat a large, heavy pan or griddle over medium heat (I used enameled cast iron, so as the toast cooked, I gradually turned the heat down to medium low).
Add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.
When it is hot, cook the French toast in batches, cooking to lightly crisp and browned on each side. If you need to add more oil or butter, do so.
If you are serving the French toast all at once, place the cooked slices in an oven on low heat. I of course always end up playing the short order cook and serving them to my family as they cook.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the pain perdu before serving with maple syrup.
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For the collage fans…
I’m planning on making some pancakes today for a good Fat Tuesday post next week! But now I’m thinking maybe I also need to fit some French toast into our weekend! This looks so good.
I made French toast with challah for the first time recently and it was amazing! Will have to try it with this recipe
Marie @ Little Kitchie says
Looks SO good!
Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen says
This looks fantastic! I get pain perdu at a local breakfast spot occasionally, stuffed with delicious cream cheese and whatever the special fruit of the day is. Yum. This one looks fantastic!
I would have no self control whatsoever if my French toast was stuffed with cream cheese.
I’m a french toast fan so I definitely need to try this recipe 🙂
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
This looks good. I would really like to have this on the table for breakfast! Nice!
So it’s whiskey that makes the difference! Well I should have guessed. 🙂 We’ll be eating these tomorrow morning.
Michelle @ The Complete Savorist says
D-LISH-US. OH My I must make this soon. I have been craving french toast and this looks phenomenal.