New Orleans-Style French Toast - "Pain Perdu"

  • 01 of 09

    What You'll Need to Make This Amazing French Toast

    Pain Perdu
    Kimberly Vardeman/Flickr

    This is not your typical French toast recipe. This is New Orleans-style French toast, made using thick slices of bread soaked in a custard batter, and after being browned lightly in a pan, they're baked golden brown.

    "Pain Perdu" means "lost bread," and this recipe was a scrumptious solution for what to do with those stale loaves of bread that were about to be "lost." This recipe is just one of the countless French-influenced dishes of New Orleans, and one of the most...MORE delicious. Here's what you need:

    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp allspice
    • 6 thick slices of day-old French bread (staler bread is fine as long as you can slice it)
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • powdered sugar (optional)
    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Make the "Custard" to Dip the Bread In

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    This simple milk and egg custard is the secret to a great pain perdu recipe. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and allspice.

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Slicing the Bread

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    Slice the bread into thick slices, at least 1-inch thick and add to the egg mixture. I used a beautiful whole-grain French loaf, but any French or Italian loaf should work nicely. Slicing at a slight angle will make for a longer piece of bread.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Soaking the Bread in the Custard

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    Toss the slices until all the mixture has been absorbed into the bread. Depending on how stale the bread is this may take from 5 to 10 minutes. The secret to this recipe is to completely saturate the bread.

    This is also why thick slices of stale bread are used as thinner fresh bread would fall apart.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Lightly Browning the Bread Before Baking

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    In a large non-stick skillet, over medium heat, very lightly brown the slices in the butter and oil for about 2 minutes per side. Don't cook too dark as most of the browning will occur in the oven as the French toast bakes.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Putting the French Toast in the Hot Oven

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Turning Over the Slices and Finishing the Baking

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    After 10 minutes remove, turn over and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes to brown the other side.

    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    The New Orleans-Style French Toast is Done

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    After 10 minutes on one side and 5 on the other, the custard should be cooked on the inside, and the French toast will be crisp on the outside. If it looks like it needs more time cook it longer, but be careful not to cook it very dark as the egg custard may become bitter.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Serve Hot with Syrup and/or Fruit Sauces ...Hey, Where's the Powdered Sugar?

    Photo © John Mitzewich

    Traditionally pain perdu is served with powdered sugar sprinkled over the top. I didn't do that here, but if you want it to look like it would in the French Quarter then dust away and dig in!