Pain Perdu Recipe

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The River Cottage Bread HandbookThis is a classic French dessert, which translates as ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’ bread. Basically, it is sugary, eggy bread, which is truly delicious topped with seasonal fruit. Try it with poached rhubarb, or with summer berries – some of them puréed. Serve for dessert, or brunch if you prefer.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 3 thick slices stale white bread, crusts removed
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200 ml whole milk
  • A few drops of natural vanilla extract
  • 100 g unsalted butter
To serve
  • Poached fruit or summer berries
How to Make It
  1. Cut the bread slices in half diagonally. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for a couple of minutes to help dissolve the sugar, then add the milk and vanilla extract, and whisk again. Tip this mixture into a shallow dish (large enough to take all the bread in a single layer). Lay the bread slices in the dish, leave to soak for a minute, then turn them over and leave for another minute.
  2. In the meantime, set a frying pan over a medium-low heat. Once the bread has soaked, add a generous knob of butter to the pan – enough to just cover the bottom of the pan once melted. As soon as the butter is frothing (don’t let it brown), lay as many bread slices in the pan as will comfortably fit, and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  3. Remove the pain perdu from the pan and keep warm while you fry the rest of the bread slices, adding more butter to the pan as necessary. Serve straight away, with poached fruit or berries.

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