The Musette: Pain Perdu

French toast, known as French pain perdu in France, is one of the easiest (and cheapest) dessert dishes to make. And yet, it’s utterly scrumptious! Legend has is that it was 15th century French King Henry V who made it popular though its origins likely go back to the days of ancient Rome. A 5th century BC recipe book mentions ‘pan dulcis’, bread dipped in milk and egg. It’s very popular in the US where it is known as French toast, possibly because it was introduced by Irish settlers and in old Irish “to French” means ‘to slice’, eg sliced bread. But it’s more likely that it just sounded better than ‘lost bread’ (pain perdu).

I make a version of this regularly for my beloved husband who, as you know, believes no meal is complete without dessert. I also make it for breakfast for special occasions.

Pain Perdu (serves 4)

  • 500ml (2 cups) milk (for richer version, use half milk/half cream)
  • 4 thick slices of stale brioche or cholla bread
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tbsp of alcohol such as dark rum/ Grand Marnier/brandy (optional)
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To serve:

  • Caramel sauce/fruit compote/maple syrup/cinnamon sugar/fresh fruit/ice cream/toasted nuts/creme fraiche


1.In a flat bottomed dish, whisk together all the ingredients except for the bread.

2. Carefully dip the slices of bread on both sides in the mixture so that they soak up all the liquid.

Pain perdu - Le Pistou

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) and place your bread in it and cook on both sides until for one minute the toast is a beautiful golden colour.

4. Serve warm however your heart desires.

Recette de Pain perdu : la meilleure recette

47 Comments on “The Musette: Pain Perdu

  1. I remember eating pain perdu as a child. The recipe was used to recycle stale bread and made up more or less the entire dinner. I’ll have to try to make it again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re killing me Sheree! I went to a restaurant last week just for French toast and they only had pure maple syrup. I never like it and always use Mrs. Butterworth kind so I didn’t order it. So tonight I settled for pancakes as my husband isn’t crazy about French toast. Yours looks delicious!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love French toast for breakfast! My absolute favorite. I like it with freshly picked blueberries or homemade blueberry syrup, but mostly with margarine and maple syrup with a bit of cinnamon at times, or nutmeg.😋😺

    Liked by 1 person

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