French toast is found in two of my favourite cuisines. You can find delicious Creole and Chinese versions. You will find it is a perfect holiday season treat served for breakfast with berries and maple syrup. French toast or pain perdu is also a simple, delicious dessert. You make it by frying slices of bread soaked in egg and milk. The dish dates back as far as the Romans and Apicius gives a recipe finished with honey.
Recipes for pain perdu are found around the world. From Hong Kong to Brazil there are variations of the dish. Perhaps the most decadent version is the Montecristo a version of the Croque Monsieur. This is a luxurious ham and cheese melt sandwiched in two layers of eggy bread.
Eaten around the World
You can eat French toast around the world. In Portugal and Latin America it is served as a traditional Christmas dessert. Indian ‘Bombay toast’ is served by street vendors in the city streets. You can find eggy bread in Scandinavia, where it is called Poor Knights and served flavoured with cardamom. In Hong Kong peanut butter is sandwiched between two slices of eggy bread and deep fried. These are drizzled with golden syrup and served in tea houses. You will find Creole pain perdu served in New Orleans made from French bread. It is flavoured with cinnamon and served with fruit in syrup and dusted with icing sugar.
Making Perfect French Toast
The secret to making Pain perdu or eggy bread is to use slightly stale or dry bread which will soak up more of the egg and milk mixture. My indulgent recipe uses brioche which is an already enriched dough mix. You can shallow fry the toast in vegetable oil alone. However, a mix of butter and oil will add a lot more flavour. Using just butter increases the chance of the eggy bread burning. To make your children smile try you can use cutters to shape the bread.
- Non-stick Frying Pan
- 4 Slices Brioche thickly cut
- 2 large Free-range Eggs
- 120 ml Full fat Jersey milk
- 1 small Vanilla pod
- A pinch Nutmeg freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Jersey Butter
- A drizzle of Vegetable Oil
- 100 ml Maple Syrup
- 1 Banana sliced
- 50 gram Blueberries
- Carefully slice open the vanilla pod using a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. You can save the vanilla pod to make vanilla sugar.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs, full-fat milk, vanilla seeds and nutmeg. Add the brioche slices and allow to soak for a few minutes. Turn over and continue to soak.
- Heat a little of the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until it starts to foam.
- Carefully drain two slices of the eggy bread with a slotted spatula and transfer to the pan. Fry the bread for approximately three minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- Remove and keep warm placed on kitchen paper, on a baking tray in a warm oven. Repeat the process and cook the remaining bread.
- Serve with banana, blueberries and maple syrup.