Tante Izzy’s Pain Perdu

In Elli, a Second Chance Novel, Tante Izzy is the matriarch of the Bienvenu clan. Her recipe for Pain Perdu is a favorite of the family and frequently served at Sugar Mill Plantation, the southern Louisiana plantation that provides the setting for Elli’s story.

What Is Pain Perdu?

pain-perdu-lgPain Perdu, “lost bread” in French, is a culinary term for what is more commonly known as French Toast.  Pain Perdu has become a popular breakfast food around the world, but was originally served as a dessert. It is usually served with butter and maple syrup (or with Cane Syrup, as Tante Izzy and the Bienvenu family prefer) or with fruit preserves or a simple sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe

Pain Perdu typically is made by dipping bread into a mixture of egg, milk and sugar (and Tante Izzy likes adding a bit of vanilla, too) and then frying it in butter until golden.

Traditional French Pain Perdu is intended to use up leftover bread, often stale from exposure to the air. Thick slices of French baguettes typically are used. The staleness of the bread helps keep the slices from becoming too soggy in the middle. That can be a problem for French toast made from thin, pre-sliced store-bought loaves. Tante Izzy prefers to slice day-old French Bread loaves from Three Cypress Knees bakery in Cane, Louisiana (named for the three cypress knees protruding up through the bakery’s oyster shell parking lot). She said that if that isn’t available and she can only get loaf bread, she leaves it out overnight to allow it to dry a bit before dipping it in the egg mixture.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 slices of bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbsps of unsalted butter
  • 3 tsps of raw cane sugar (white sugar will do fine, too)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Pinch of Nutmeg to taste
  • 2/3 cup milk (Tante Izzy likes it fresh from Elsie her neighbor’s Guernsey cow. She said you can use milk from your favorite cow or buy it from the store.)
  • ¾ tsps vanilla extract
  • (You can add a pinch of cinnamon, too)

Method:

Whisk the eggs to blend. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter on the stovetop and allow it to cool slightly. Whisk the sugar, salt and spices into the eggs. When the butter has cooled slightly, slowly drizzle it in to the egg batter, whisking it all the time. Slowly blend in the milk next and finally the vanilla. Whisk until it is smooth and set aside.
Add the remaining butter to your black iron skillet or griddle over a medium heat.
Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Cook the bread slices for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side in your skillet, until it’s a nice golden color.
Serve with a little confectioners sugar sprinkled on top and a bit of Cane syrup, too. Bon appetit!


Here is a wonderful recipe for Pain Perdu by Chef John Folse of Louisiana if you want to fancy it up a bit and excite your taste buds!

(Recipe from WAFB News)

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Comment:This recipe, adapted from one by Emeril Lagasse, helped the Hammond High Pro-Start culinary team win the state title and progress to the regional culinary competition in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 4 slices French bread
  • 4 tbsps sugar
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsps rum
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsps milk
  • 2 oranges, juice and zest reserved
  • 2 tsps cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tbsps powdered sugar, plus 4 tsps for garnish
  • 3 tbsps chopped pecans

Method:

In a sauté pan, melt 2 tbsps butter. Add pecan pieces and sauté, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in syrup and bring the sauce to a simmer. Remove from heat and add rum. Carefully replace pan on heat and flame sauce. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon and vanilla. Soak bread in egg mixture. Whisk cream until slightly stiff. Add 8 tbsps powdered sugar and continue whisking until stiff. Place whipped cream in a pastry bag with a large tip and chill. In a non-stick skillet, melt 2 tbsps butter. Pan fry bread slices until golden on both sides. Dust bread with 2 tsps powdered sugar. Arrange on plate. Add sliced bananas to syrup and gently heat. Pour syrup over Pain Perdu and garnish with generous amounts of whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon.