pain perdu with warm guava preserves and mascarpone
part two in the dead bread trilogy
pain perdu, literally "forgotten bread" in french, aka french toast. i like the idea of forgotten bread, the phrase "french toast" makes me think of clinking champagne glasses at new year's. i like to bake pain perdu instead of pan frying it, as it uses less butter, and frankly, i'm totally useless first thing in the morning--it's an effort to turn a knob, never mind flipping things in hot fat.
ingredients: 8 slices of stale bread, 4 eggs, 2 cups milk, pinch of salt. since i usually use bone dry bread (see part 1 of the dbt), this dish must be refrigerated overnight, or left to sit for at least half an hour. because of the varying soaking times, you'll get different results--the bread that is left to soak overnight is softer and slightly custardy, the half hour soaked bread is firm and has a bit of tooth.
if you are going for the overnight method, grease or butter an ovenproof dish, place the bread in the dish (try not to overlap the slices). mix the remaining ingredients, pour on top of the bread, and refrigerate overnight.
the half hour method is similar. place the bread in a shallow dish, and pour the other mixed ingredients on top. soak for 30 minutes (less if the bread is thin, more if it's not). take the bread out of the egg mixture, and place on a greased baking sheet or dish.
for both methods, bake for 40 minutes at 350˚F. you may need to turn the bread over once for the bread that hasn't sat overnight in the fridge.
why have two methods? well, you never know how much time you'll have. also, you may be looking for a particular texture for the dish. when i am making a sweet pain perdu, i like to use the overnight method, and sometimes i'll add orange zest, vanilla, or a few tablespoons of sugar to the egg mixture. for a savoury dish, i will slit the bread in half and stuff it with ham and/or cheese, and when it's soaked for a short period of time, it becomes similar to a monte cristo sandwich, only marginally healthier, as it's not deep fried in butter. i will also toss some chopped vegetables coated in olive oil (zucchini works well) in, to mini-roast along with the stuffed bread.
pain perdu stuffed with ham and brie, served with roasted cherry tomatoes