‘Pain Perdu’ is French for the most scrumptious ‘French toast.’ Make this delicious Pain Perdu recipe with berry sauce for a special breakfast or brunch. Adapted from Cooking Light
Pain Perdu is French for French toast. The literal translation is “lost bread,” and refers to the idea that there’s still hope for a day old baguette. It may have lost its great fresh baguette qualities, but it can be revived and reclaimed to make delicious French toast. In fact a day old French baguette is ideal for French toast. Dipped in milk and egg and then sautéed in butter or oil, it will be crisp and brown on the outside, soft and custardy in the center.
Thoughts of Mother’s Day got me thinking about food (of course) and what would be the ultimate brunch recipe for mom. Here’s what I came up with: It starts with a sliced baguette. The bread is dipped in vanilla custard and sautéed in butter, then topped with a lemony-sweet berry sauce, a gorgeous assortment of berries, honeyed yogurt and a generous sprinkling of slivered basil. It’s beautiful, fresh, totally scrumptious, and the perfect brunch recipe to cook for mom on Mother’s Day.
Making a fresh berry sauce is the easiest thing imaginable. The basic idea is to take fresh berries and add something sweet, like honey, sugar, or fruit preserves. Bring it all to a simmer and cook for a few minutes until soft and saucy. For a fine sauce, puree and strain through sieve to remove seeds. For a more rustic sauce, or compote, just simmer and enjoy.
My preference for this occasion was to puree and strain the fruit for a smooth velvety sauce to pour over the bread, and then to toss assorted fresh berries on top.
Tangy greek yogurt mixed with honey is the perfect complement to the rich french toast and fruity berries. I experimented with sour cream and creme fraiche too. Both are nice but the yogurt is my top choice.
You can whisk the honey into the yogurt or simply add a dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of honey. Please don’t omit the fresh basil. It’s wonderful! I tested the recipe with mint too, but the basil won me over by far.
I was about to write that Mother’s Day is the biggest brunch day of the year but I decided to make sure of that. And yes, according to Open Table Mother’s Day brunch reservations beat Father’s Day by 62%. And Mother’s Day is the 3rd biggest day of the year for restaurant dining after Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
Dining out is special but dining in can be too. Cooking a special meal for someone is a great way to say “I love you.” If you decide to stay in and make pain perdu for the special mom or mom’s in your life, I hope you’ll come back and leave a comment and let me know what you think and how your mother’s day was.
Here are a few more ideas for you from a Mother’s Day Brunch Recipe Roundup that I published last year: Best Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes.
Happy Mother’s Day!Print
Pain Perdu with Berry Sauce and Fresh Berries
An extra special version of French toast with the addition of berry sauce, fresh berries, honeyed yogurt and slivered basil.
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Yield: 7-8 servings (2 pieces per person)
- Category: Breakfast or Brunch
- Cuisine: French
- Berries and Berry Sauce:
- 2 pounds (6 cups) mixed berries, divided, such as strawberries (hulled and sliced), raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. Note: Blackberries are not recommended for the sauce so set those aside to sprinkle on top.
- 2 tablespoons fruit preserves, honey or sugar (I used apricot preserves)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pain Perdu:
- 1 day old French baguette, cut on a diagonal into 1-inch thick slices (14-16 slices), and if you forget to plan ahead, you can use a fresh baguette and it will still be delicious.
- 1 1/2 cups 2% Milk (whole milk is fine too)
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons honey (if it’s cold and stiff, warm it for a 5-10 seconds in the microwave before using)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter for sautéing
- 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (non-fat is fine, too)
- 2 tablespoons of honey to mix with the yogurt or to drizzle on top, or both
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, slivered
- A large shallow dish for soaking the bread
- A jellyroll pan or large platter to set the soaked bread on before sautéing
- A large skillet (cast iron is best)
- A parchment lined baking pan or jellyroll pan to keep the pain perdu warm in the oven
- Make the Berry Sauce: Set aside half the berries, including all the blackberries, if using. Put the rest of the berries (3 cups) in a medium saucepan with the preserves (or honey or sugar) and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let it cool for 5 minutes or so. Stir in lemon juice. Serve as is or, to make a fine sauce, puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender or food processor). Pour through a fine sieve to strain out the seeds. You may need to stir and press on the berry sauce with a wooden spoon to push the liquids through the sieve. You will have about 1 1/2 cups of berry sauce. It will keep, covered in the fridge for 2 days. Bring to room temp or warm before using.
- Prepare the Honeyed Yogurt: If making honeyed yogurt, whisk 2 tablespoons of honey with one cup of yogurt until creamy. Alternatively you can serve the yogurt plain and drizzle the honey on top.
- Make the Pain Perdu: Preheat oven to 225ºF. Whisk milk, eggs, honey, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl. Arrange bread slices in a single layer in a shallow dish or a large glass baking dish. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. Let it stand for 2 minutes. Flip bread with tongs and let it soak for 2 minutes longer. Transfer bread to baking pan or platter, to drain. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add half the bread slices to the pan. Cook them for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to parchment lined pan and set in the oven to keep warm. Add the rest of the butter to the skillet and cook the rest of the bread.
- To Serve: Divide the pain perdu onto plates, two slices per person. Drizzle with berry sauce. Sprinkle with fresh berries and fresh basil. Add a dollop (2 tablespoons or so) of yogurt. Drizzle everything with honey, if you like. Serve extra berry sauce on the side.