Chef Tse: Pain Perdu with Caramelized Apples

Pain Perdu with Caramelized Apples
Pain Perdu literally means “lost bread” in French and is the original recipe for what we Americans call French toast. Poor families tried to make the most of their old bread so instead of throwing it away, they used it for breakfast. For best results, make sure your bread is stale or let it dry out on the counter at least 24 hours. This allows the bread to wick up the custard and creates a creamy interior. After one bite, you’ll never go back to French toast again!

Serves 8

Apples:

  • 4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into sixths
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water


Bread:

  • 8 thick slices whole wheat bread, stale
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 3 large eggs


For the apples:
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and sugar until a light caramel color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add apples in a single layer. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add honey, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice. Mix to combine and continue cooking about 2 to 3 minutes. Apples should be tender when pierced with a fork but still firm. Add water, set aside and keep warm.

For the bread:
Pour milk in a medium bowl. Soak break in milk 5 seconds and drain on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Whisk eggs well in a medium bowl.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon sugar until a light caramel color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Dip 4 slices bread into egg and place in the caramel. Cook bread until brown, about 1 minute per side. Place on a warm plate. Wipe out pan and repeat with remaining butter, sugar, egg and bread. Serve immediately.

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