First of all, let me say THANK YOU to all the military men and women who have served, are serving, or have died defending our freedoms and liberties. Your sacrifices are appreciated, and you are loved.
Onto the food…
I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day, filled with fellowship and great food. I don’t know about y’all, but Memorial Day means bbq, coleslaw, sweet tea, potato salad and apple cobbler, to say the least. That’s normally at home, of course, with family and old friends and summer heat. Today, I’m not at home with family and old friends, so I decided that I’d make the day special for me with a good breakfast.
Pain perdu is “real” French toast – soaked bread in custard, pan-seared and baked to perfection. If you like creme brulee – and I do, I do, I do – then this is definitely your overindulgent breakfast. I’d never heard of this particular feast until I came across Marc’s recipe in March. I’d wanted to try it for a while but never acted on the notion until this morning (well, last night).
I’m a little low on utensils – well, on kitchen in general, on the weekends for a little while. Being between apartments – just far enough apart to make a dent in fuel if I went back to the ‘old’ apartment to get anything – can be tough. (Don’t you love my Dixie plates?) I brought all I could remember for the recipe, but I still forgot some things – like milk and butter, for example. I used a loaf of ‘Italian’ bread from Kroger that I’d had in the freezer for a while. I used only cream for the custard, one large egg and a little less than a teaspoon of Reyna Natural Gourmet Vanilla (/plug).
I can’t tell you how much I love the stuff. Really. I would use it as an air freshener if I could. Or a body wash. Maybe a sugar scrub recipe is in order… anyway. If you ever get the chance to go to Mexico, BUY some Reyna, and thank me later. Back to breakfast.
I didn’t bake the pain in the same pan I fried it in, because the pan I borrowed had a plastic handle (and who likes melted plastic in the oven?). All I did was swap from the frying pan to the baking pan and stuck it in the oven, no timer. I fried up the bacon while the pain baked, and about the time the bacon was done, I checked the pain – perfect. The custard had set, no liquid excess. It came out buttery yellow, with deeply caramelized spots from the pan sear, and just solid.
Biting into it was like magic. Soft bread, crispy crust, creme brulee custardy goodness… magic. Eye-opening. Rich, silky – food at it’s most beautiful. I had anticipated needing maple syrup, but after that first bite, I never even looked twice at the bottle. If you use it, more power to you. I couldn’t have handled the sweetness overload.
My advice? MAKE THIS RECIPE. That’s my first piece of advice. You will not regret it.
Otherwise, I would like to say that while the Italian soaked up the bread nicely and make for a nice custard, make sure that if you use a similar bread that you don’t make your slices too big, or it will be floppy and hard to handle (although nonetheless tasty). Brioche would work handily, I’m sure, as any other kind of ‘dessert’ bread. You could come up with a ganache of some type without a problem, if you cut back on the sugar just a little. I’m going to try out a white chocolate pain perdu (of a sort) and see how it works against my white creme brulee for taste. Would this work with light brown sugar (or natural cane sugar)? I’m sure it would. It seems like a reasonably forgiving recipe.
Even if it’s not, the original is still pretty darn tasty on its own.
(And yes, that is my truck grill in the background of that picture. Oorah.)