Pain Perdu

Pain perdu is one of my favourite dishes because it reminds me of the French toast my mother used to make. It was a special treat that popped up on weekends, and, as I was never much of a breakfast fan, the combination of crunchy crust and soggy centers (not to mention maple syrup and powdered sugar) was enough to make me want a fully morning belly.

Ingredients:
1/2 stick butter
1 cup half and half
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons warmed honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 slices of “real” bread (preferably a crusty loaf, like French or Italian), sliced at least 1/2 inch thick

Hardware:
bowl with cover (a plate will work fine)
oven/stove
draining rack
bread rack (or wire)
whisk
refrigerator
skillet
spatula

Day one directions:
Leave bread out overnight to dry. You can buy racks made specifically for this purpose, or you can make your own by twisting wire into a large spiral.

Whisk all ingredients, save bread and butter, together to form a custard. Cover loosely (a plate placed on top of the bowl works perfectly) and leave in refrigerator overnight.

Day two directions:
Pre-heat oven to 375°F/190°C. Place oven rack at middle or just above middle.

Drop bread slices into custard one at a time and allow each to soak for 30 seconds on each side. Allow each slice to rest for two minutes on a draining rack.

Heat skillet to medium low heat. Butter the skillet just enough to cover the bottom. Add each piece of bread to the skillet and brown on both sides. Extra butter may be used to coat pan in between slices.

Return bread to rack and place into the oven for five minutes.

Pain perdu can be enjoyed as is, or can be loaded up with syrups, fruits, sugar, whipped cream, etc.
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