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What we call French toast, the French call
pain perdu. Fried in butter and served covered with powdered
sugar, Pain Perdu is considered dessert in France. The following
version is oven-fried, making it easier to prepare for a crowd.
Pain Perdu (French
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 to 12 thick (1/2 to 1/3 inch) slices day-old French or Italian
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Maple syrup (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk,
vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon until blended. Arrange the bread
in a large shallow baking dish, layering or slightly overlapping
the slices, if necessary. Pour the milk mixture over the bread
and let stand for at least 30 minutes, carefully turning the
bread with a wide spatula and rearranging it so it is evenly
moistened halfway through the standing time.
- Position one oven rack in the upper third
of the oven and one in the lower third and preheat the oven to
400°F (205°C). Put 2 tablespoons of the butter on each
of two baking sheets with sides and place in the oven until the
butter melts and pans are hot, about 5 minutes. Tilt the pans
so the butter covers them evenly. Remove from the oven.
- Place 5 to 6 slices of the soaked bread
on each of the hot pans, spacing them evenly. Bake for 15 minutes.
Take the pans out of the oven and turn each piece of bread over
with a wide spatula. Return the pans to the oven, placing the
one from the top rack on the bottom rack on the top, and bake
until the bread is puffed and evenly browned, 15 to 20 minutes
- Transfer to a platter, dust with powdered
sugar and serve with maple syrup, if desired.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.