French toast, or pain perdu, or sweet eggy bread. Whatever you call it, it’s the ultimate brunch, and really easy to rustle up when you know how to do it right; chunky bread that’s dunked in cinnamon custard, then pan fried in butter and covered in syrup and sugar! Translated as ‘lost bread’ in French, the original recipe for pain perdu was created as a way to reclaim stale, unused off cuts of bread. It’s the perfect way to use up the crust of an old loaf as the custard softens any hard bits and gives them a wonderful buttery crunch when fried in butter. I love maple syrup for it’s smokey sweetness but you could use honey or blueberries and yoghurt as a sweet topping, or crispy bacon for American-style.
Serves 2 to 4 people (depends how hungry you are)
100g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
200ml full fat milk
4 thick slices of brioche, chollah (Jewish egg-enriched bread) or any leftover bread
2 tbsp icing sugar, to serve
4 tbsp quality maple syrup (I use Pure Maple because its got a lovely clean, smokey flavour)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a small, deep baking tray or shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk and cinnamon powder.
2. Cut the outer crusts off the slices. Place each slice of bread into the egg mixture and leave to stand for 1 minute on each side.
3. Heat the butter in a large frying pan on a medium-low heat with a little oil to stop the butter from burning. When the butter is foaming, add the soaked bread and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden.
4. Place the bread on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes until fluffed up and golden brown. Drain onto some kitchen towel, then pour over the maple syrup.
5. Serve with your topping of choice and enjoy immensely!