Pain Perdu is French for the most scrumptious French toast. This is the perfect breakfast or brunch recipe for a special occasion, rich custardy vanilla scented French toast made with French bread, sautéed in butter and topped with homemade berry sauce, fresh berries and slivered basil.
The literal translation of Pain Perdu is “lost bread.” It 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.
Whether it’s Mother’s Day or some other occasion where you want to make someone happy with food, I recommend making Pain Perdu.
PAIN PERDU IS GOURMET FRENCH TOAST
Day old French bread is sliced and drenched in vanilla custard, sautéed in butter, and then topped with a lemony-sweet berry sauce, a gorgeous assortment of berries, honeyed yogurt and a generous sprinkling of slivered basil.
This dish is visually beautiful, colorful and fresh fresh, totally scrumptious, and the perfect brunch recipe to cook for a special someone or a special brunch.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH BERRY SAUCE
Making fresh berry sauce is a cinch! Take fresh berries and add a little water and 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 berry sauce, puree the berry mixture and strain it through sieve to remove seeds. For a more rustic berry 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 pain perdu.
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.
By the way, this is a great dish to serve to mom on mother’s day or Dad on Father’s Day. Fun fact: Did you know that Mother’s Day is the biggest brunch day of the year? 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.
Here’s the recipe for Pain Perdu with Fresh Berry Sauce. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think.Print
Pain Perdu with Berry Sauce and Fresh Berries
Rich delicious French Style French Toast with homemade 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) 1x
- Category: Breakfast or Brunch
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: French
- 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
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
- 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
- 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.
Keywords: French Toast, French style French Toast with berry sauce