French Toast, Pain Perdu, Eggy Bread… the list of names for this dish is endless. They are all essentially the same thing: old bread dipped in egg and milk or cream and fried in butter. The name ‘Pain Perdu’ translates to lost bread as it refers to stale bread that would otherwise have been lost or binned, but is revitalised when cooked this way. It’s not exactly a healthy option, definitely an occasional treat.
I’ve been making this as a weekend treat for years but this is the first time I’ve bothered to measure the ingredients! That’s how easy it is to make, just throw it all together but it tastes like something that you’ve put a lot of effort into. You don’t need to go to the effort of the cream cheese mixture, even with a little yogurt and fresh fruit it’s a special breakfast. You could also serve it with bacon and maple syrup.
Many recipes use cinnamon, I don’t but feel free to add to the egg mixture or sprinkle over with the icing sugar at the end. I use Highbank Orchard Syrup to flavour the cream cheese mixture but use honey or caster sugar to sweeten it instead. I have to state, I’m not linked to Highbank Orchard in any way, I just love this product.
Useful tips & links:
- I usually use ordinary white sliced bread but as a treat I picked up a brioche loaf to make this. It was a small loaf so I used three slices each – any excuse! I prefer the plain slices of French Toast as I find the weight of the stuffed sandwich squashes it a little bit too much. I would also highly recommend doing the strawberries or a fruit compote as they cut through the richness of this. You can also substitute mascarpone for the cream cheese.
French Toast – Two Ways
For the toast:
- 4 slices of bread – 6 if it is a small loaf
- 2 eggs
- 250ml of milk
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- Butter for frying
For the fillings and sides:
- 100g of strawberries
- 2 tsp of caster sugar
- ½ tsp of vanilla extract
- 50g of cream cheese
- 50ml of double cream
- 1 tsp of apple syrup or honey
- Nutella (optional)
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Chop the strawberries into small pieces and sprinkle over the sugar and vanilla. Mix it well together and set to one side to allow the strawberries to macerate. The strawberries will soften and produce a little syrup.
- Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium high heat. When it is hot, reduce the heat to medium low and melt a large knob of butter in the pan.
- In a wide shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla until completely combined. Dip both sides of the bread into the egg mixture until the bread is soaked but don’t let it become soggy.
- Fry the bread in the melted butter until golden brown on each side. This will take several minutes per side. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat or the outside of the bread will burn quickly. Unless you have a very large pan fry just 2 slices at a time.
- While the bread is frying put the cream cheese, cream and syrup into a bowl and beat together until thickened and fully combined. Taste and add more syrup or a little caster sugar if needed.
- When the bread is golden brown serve immediately or keep it warm in a low oven if you are making batches of the toast.
- Put a nice big spoon of the cream cheese mix onto the hot toast, pour over some of the strawberries and their juices and dust a layer of icing sugar on top.
- If you want to make the stuffed toast, take two slices of the bread. Spread a little Nutella on one and on the other spread a nice amount of the cream cheese mixture. Sandwich these sides together and dip both sides of the outside of the sandwich in the egg mixture and fry as above. Take a little more care in turning it in the pan so that the sandwich doesn’t come apart.
- Serve with icing sugar on top and strawberries on the side.