Pain Perdu: New Orleans Style French Toast

Pain Perdu–Cajun Style French Toast

Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
216 Calories
11g Fat
17g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 15%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 243mg 81%
Sodium 230mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 11g
Calcium 126mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you have slices of bread that have gone stale and are "lost," there is a delicious way of bringing them back to life while feeding your family a tasty and nutritious meal. Translated literally as "lost bread," pain perdu is a common New Orleans staple that is served at breakfast but can make a great brunch dish, and even a breakfast-for-dinner preparation. A cousin of French toast, both pain perdu and French toast have been around for centuries, and neither is entirely French. Soaking old bread in milk and sugar and then frying it was a common usage during ancient times as people needed to use and consume everything available before it went bad or turned sour. Thus, fried pieces of bread were the perfect way of repurposing the "lost" items in the pantry. Lucky us that we inherited these recipes, adapting them to modern times and adding ingredients that back then were either too precious or expensive, like eggs, powdered sugar, honey, and multiple other toppings that go oh-so well with these tasty pieces of bread.

Our version of pain perdu cooks the bread in the oven, making it easier for you to cook them all at once and not in batches standing in front of the stove. A quick turn halfway and you're done. The method is the same as with French toast, but then it's the oven that does all the work. Mix milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract, then soak the day-old bread in it, and bake. Serving with melted butter and syrup is easy and delicious, but any other additions do complement these slices of hot pain perdu nicely. Top with powdered sugar and fresh berries, add chocolate spread and bananas for a rich dessert-like meal, or add dulce de leche, whipped cream and chopped nuts, or your favorite jam or fruit compote. If you're a fan of sweet and salty, serve the pain perdu with scrambled eggs and crispy bacon, or slices of smoked ham and Brie cheese on the side. Cottage cheese, ricotta, and mascarpone are also great protein-rich additions.

Use any day-old bread in this tasty and rich recipe, such as sliced brioche, challah, baguettes, French bread, Italian bread, or sourdough. If what you have at hand is store-bought sliced bread, this is a great way of using bread that on its own isn't too tasty. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to two days and reheat in the microwave slightly, as too much heat can harden the bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter, for greasing
  • 8 slices day-old bread
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For Serving:
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Honey, to taste
  • Syrup, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Generously butter a large baking sheet.

  2. If desired, remove the crusts from bread slices and discard them or reserve them for another use. Set the bread aside.

  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with salt, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour into a flat-bottomed dish large enough to accommodate a few slices of the bread.

  4. Place the bread slices into the dish to soak up some of the egg mixture, a few at a time. Turn with a spatula and let them soak on the other side, but not too long, or they will be too saturated and difficult to turn. Gently remove the soaked bread slices to the buttered baking sheet and continue with the remaining bread slices. Spoon any remaining egg mixture over the slices.

  5. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake the pain perdu for 15 to 20 minutes, turning after the first 10 minutes to brown on both sides.

  6. Serve immediately with melted butter and your favorite honey or syrup.