French toast is a classic breakfast dish known as pain perdu or lost bread. This dish transpired years ago by saving precious daily bread before it spoiled and had to be thrown out.
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I grew up eating pain perdu for breakfast. We mostly called it French toast, but other family members called it by its Cajun French name. Maybe it's because we used regular Evangeline Maid sandwich bread instead of French bread loaves.
I remember making French toast when I was tall enough to reach the stove. I learned how by watching Mama make it for me, and she learned from her Mama, who made it for her. It was never complete until I poured on lots of Steen's Cane Syrup. Yum!
For more Louisiana-inspired recipes, check out 24 Mardi Gras Food Recipes.
Classic French Toast
This simple breakfast food is as popular today as ever. Not because it's easy to prepare and gives new life to stale bread, but because it's so delicious! The best thing about it is that it's not just for breakfast. You can serve it as an after-school snack, or for supper with eggs and sausage, or how about dessert? It hits the spot any time of day.
A Little Less Sugar
The older versions of Pain Perdu consisted of a generous amount of white sugar in the egg and milk mixture then the dipped bread was fried in oil. Today, I find that omitting the sugar in the custard mixture and dusting the cooked french toast with powdered sugar gives it just enough sweetness. (You can top it with syrup if you like.) Also, instead of frying in oil, I toast the bread in a pan of melted butter. The crunch of the warm buttery toast goes well with the powdered sugar.
By testing different ways of saving this lost bread I've discovered these ingredients and measurements in my recipe below to be easy to remember, and it's fail-proof, too!Print
8 1-inch French bread slices
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar or syrup
- Scramble eggs with a fork in a shallow bowl.
- Add half and half and continue stirring until the egg and cream are well incorporated.
- Stir in vanilla and salt.
- Using a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
- Place a slice of bread into mixture and turn the bread over to absorb milk mixture on both sides.
- Cook two pieces of french bread slices at a time until golden brown on each side.
- Continue cooking the rest of the bread in a tablespoon of melted butter each time.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar or pour syrup over french bread before serving.
The older the bread, the crispier it will cook up.
Add a pat of butter onto hot toast for a more buttery taste before topping with powdered sugar or syrup.
For a change, you can use a hot waffle iron coated with butter to cook the french toast.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Breads
- Method: Toasting
- Cuisine: French
- Serving Size: 2 slices
Keywords: French Toast
Now you can see how easy it is to make french toast that even a child just tall enough to reach over the stove can master.
When biting into the crunchy outside of Pain Perdu and tasting the warm custardy inside it reminds me of another way to save some lost bread. Have you guessed it, yet? That's right, bread pudding! Here's my recipe for Bread Pudding With Pumpkin Pecan Praline Sauce. You know that soon we'll be hunting those pumpkin recipes. Here's a reminder that this bread pudding recipe is here when you need it. It's delicious with other toppings as well if you're not in the mood for pumpkin.
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