The history of French toast is hotly debated, but one thing is for sure—it isn’t actually French. In fact, it dates all the way back to the Roman Empire. Fast forward a couples of millennia and cultures around the world have their own rendition of this classic dish.
In France, the most basic rendition of this dish is called pain perdu. Literally “lost bread,” its name comes from the fact that it is traditionally made using old bread that would otherwise be thrown away. Simply soak the old bread in some eggs and milk and you’ve got an easy, delicious breakfast.
However, to turn this recipe into something truly French, all you need to do is replace the bread with brioche and voilà, you’ve got brioches perdues! The rich, buttery flavor of French brioche makes this version of French toast much more decadent and more suitable as a dessert than as a breakfast.
Treat yourself to this delectable dish for National French Toast Day!
Yields: 4 servings
- 4 slices of brioche
- 50 g vanilla sugar (or 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp vanilla extract)
- 15 g salted butter
- 2 eggs
- 165 g whole milk
In a bowl, mix the vanilla sugar, eggs, and milk. Soak each slice of brioche in the batter, either one-by-one or by pouring the custard into a wide, shallow baking tray and allowing all four slices to soak at once.
While the brioche is soaking, heat a skillet over medium heat and melt a knob of butter. Add one slice of soaked brioche to the buttered pan and toast until marbled on both sides.
Optional: Caramelize the brioche by sprinkling each side of brioche with sugar before placing in the skillet.
Serve brioche perdue while it’s hot, along with a glass of Vouvray!