Pain Perdu is the fancier twin sister of our good ol’ American french toast. I don’t make a lot of french toast at home because I haven’t really found any good breads to make it with. After making my own brioche loaves last weekend, I thought I should put some of it to good use by trying a recipe for Pain Perdu from Barefoot Contessa. I was also a little bit intrigued by some of the ingredients that Ina used in her custard, Grand Marnier? I knew that Ina was a woman after my own heart!
She recommended this dish as a dessert on her book, but I am still not ready with the thought of having a thick slice of bread for dessert (even if it was served with strawberry compote). Maybe… bread pudding, when it’s soaked and covered with really yummy and sweet custard. I didn’t have any strawberries, so I decided to use my abundance of raspberries that I picked up a few months ago.
Here’s my observation with this dish. The brioche loaves definitely held its shape successfully even after being soaked in eggs, so I was happy with that. The Grand Marnier, orange zest and honey really added a nice sophisticated depth to the every day french toast. In my mind, this was a bit too heavy for breakfast. Red and I were also missing our maple syrup, so I drizzled some on top of the raspberry compote that I made. In the future though, I were to serve it for dessert, I’d probably cut this out into smaller round pieces, and cut it thinner. Bon Appetit!
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris.
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier), divided
6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large brioche loaf or challah
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sliced blanched almonds, toasted
Confectioners’ sugar, to serve
Combine the sliced strawberries, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the orange liqueur in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, honey, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, the vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Slice the bread in 3/4-inch slices. Pour the egg mixture into a large shallow plate and soak a few slices of bread for 4 minutes, turning once.
Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Take each slice of bread from the egg mixture, dip one side in the toasted almonds, and place in the saute pan, almond side down. (While you’re cooking each batch, add more bread to the egg mixture to soak.) Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked bread on a baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil, and continue to fry the remaining soaked bread until they’re all cooked. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot with the strawberries.