Pain Perdu is French for “lost bread”, referring stale bread that would otherwise be disposed of. This New Orleans version of French toast, is generally made with stale French bread. The French bread is sliced thick, dipped in an egg custard, and fried in butter. It’s perfect for a Mardi Gras breakfast or brunch!
Pain Perdu is one of Susan’s specialities. She used the following ingredients for this delicious New Orleans treat: French bread, eggs, milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and unsalted butter. She could have used half and half in place of the milk and cream!
Prepping the Ingredients:
First, Susan sliced the French bread diagonally into 1-inch slices. She let the slices sit out for a bit so that they could dry out. This is important because otherwise, the interior of the bread would turn to mush. While the bread was drying out, Susan made the custard. She started by whisking the eggs in a medium bowl. Then, she whisked in the milk and heavy cream. Next, she whisked in the vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Cooking the New Orleans Style Pain Perdu:
With the ingredients ready, Susan melted some butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Because the cinnamon had a tendency to float to the top, she whisked the custard before dipping a slice of French bread into it. She allowed the excess to drip off. Then, she placed it in the pan. Susan repeated this with three more pieces of French bread. She noted that it’s important not to crowd the Pain Perdu while it is cooking.
She cooked the Pain Perdu for 3 to 4 minutes per side until it was golden brown. When it was done, Susan removed the Pain Perdu from the skillet and placed it on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. She wiped the pan with a paper towel before adding additional butter and repeating the process with the remaining French bread. The reason that she did this was to ensure that the remaining butter did not burn.
Finishing the New Orleans Style Pain Perdu:
When all of the Pain Perdu was cooked, Susan served it with some crispy bacon, and fresh fruit. She put syrup on her’s, and I put confectioners’ sugar on mine. The New Orleans Style Pain Perdu was absolutely delicious. It had just the right amount of cinnamon and was perfectly cooked. Susan heated the leftovers in a 400° F oven for 10 minutes, flipping the pieces after 5 minutes. She thought that they were even better the next day! When she makes the Pain Perdu in advance, she only cooks it until it is lightly golden brown so that it doesn’t overcook later in the oven! Yum!
New Orleans Style Pain Perdu
- 1 loaf day old French bread
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- Fruit for garnish (optional)
- Syrup or confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 200° F.
- Slice French bread diagonally into 1-inch slices; allow to sit to dry out.
- Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add milk and cream; whisk to combine. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon; continue whisking.
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Dip a piece of French bread in custard; allow excess to drip off. Place in skillet. Repeat with three additional pieces of French bread.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on wire rack set in baking sheet. Place in oven to keep warm.
- Repeat with remaining slices of French bread, making sure that you don't crowd the pan.
- Serve warm with syrup, confectioners' sugar, fresh fruit, etc.