12.31.2016

Pain Perdu: Paradise Found

The French expression for French toast is «pain perdu» - or lost bread. It is a way to reclaim, or use, bread that is no longer fit for eating at the table.

I am reminded of Proust's well-known book, «À la recherche de pain perdu» ... Really? It was «du temps perdu?» Huh... who knew?

Like many traditional recipes, just about everyone has their version: eggy bread, Bombay toast, German toast, Gypsy toast, poor knights of Windsor, or Spanish toast, to name a few. It seems that wherever there is bread, there is an egg-dipped version.

The Italians generally make this a savory preparation, stuffing the bread with mozzarella and, sometimes, anchovies before dropping it in the fryer. It is called «mozzarella en carrozza» (mozzarella in a carriage) and it is delicious.

However, I make a different Italian version (who knows - maybe Italians do, as well?) using panettone.

Have you ever been given a panettone during the holiday season and wondered what to do with it? Here is one idea, and you needn't wait for it to be "lost" or stale. In fact, using it fresh makes the centers rather custard-like.

Serve it with butter and syrup, simply with butter, or a dusting of confectioner's sugar. It is sure to brighten any winter morning.

~ David

Panettone Perdu

2 eggs
2-3 tablespoons cream or milk
a couple drops Fiori di Sicilia * - or vanilla extract
2 one-inch slices panettone (6-inch diameter)

When making panettone perdu, or any kind of French toast, I use my nonstick electric skillet. No butter or oil is needed and it allows you to keep the heat even. If you don't have an electric skillet, proceed with your favorite French toast pan.

Heat the electric skillet to 350°F (180°C).

Break both eggs into a pie plate, and then add the cream and extract. Beat well with a fork.

When skillet is ready, dip each piece of panettone into the egg mixture, then turn to coat the other side. Place them in the electric skillet, and pour any remaining egg mixture on the tops and let it soak in as the first side cooks.

When the underside is golden brown, flip the panettone slices and cook the second side till golden brown.

Serve with or without syrup/butter.

This recipe is for 2, but it can be doubled or tripled.

* Fiori di Sicilia is a wonderful extract, blending the essences of citrus blossoms and vanilla.

37 comments:

  1. It would have never occurred to me to use such fancy bread for French toast, but I love the idea; its genius!

    I'm also intrigued by the savory Italian version you describe. I'll have to give that a try too!

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    1. Thanks, Lois! I know you will love this! Happy New Year!

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  2. Love the lightness of Panettone…perfect for this dish.

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    1. It is perfect for this dish - I would love some now!

      Happy New Year to you, too, Karen!

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  3. OMG I adore panettone... beautiful recipe, David. Happy new year to you and Mark xx

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    1. I think my next panettone adventure might be a trifle!

      Hope you and Peter had a wonderful celebration, and all the best for 2017!

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    2. Good Morning David, what a delicious and clever way to enjoy panettone, I must try this.

      We woke up to rain and I must say it was a wonderful way to start the first day of the new year. Wishing you and Mark the best.

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    3. Thanks, Cheri! I hope you try it!

      Rain on the New Year in the desert MUST be good luck!

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  4. What a brilliant solution to an ongoing 'problem'!!! : )
    I've been afflicted by being given stale Panettone by well-meaning guests more than once, as the vendors here in Malta are not conscious about adhering to "Sell by" dates. I LOVE Panettone, and am sad when I don't consume it fast enough to finish before it goes a bit 'over the hill' (it doesn't happen often)...but now, I know what to do to prolong my enjoyment! Thanks sooooo much! 2017 off to a good start.

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    1. I know exactly how you feel, Clotilde! Most panettone we see in the States is quite past its expiration date. This is one good solution!

      Happy New Year - it's so nice to hear from you!

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  5. I'd love to start my New Year's Day out with this for breakfast. Instead I'm drinking tea and eating a banana! GREG

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    1. Tea with a banana is lovely, Greg. Maybe you can have the panettone French toast tomorrow.

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  6. We made French toast with Challah for Christmas brekkie. Yummy, but it's a once a year item. I have never had a panettonne but have always been curious about it. I was always a bit wary of the potential staleness of it, being made way before Christmas, etc.

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    1. Happy New Year, Caterina! At least this gives you something to which you can look forward next Christmas

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  7. I recently made a friend tiramisu for a holiday party using chocolate chip panettone from Trader Joe's. Turned out dee lightful. Always inspired by your blog. LG

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    1. You are so sweet, Linda! It's nice to hear from you! I like be the idea of a tiramisu made with panettone - perfect! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Anytime, Carolyne! Our guest room awaits...

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  9. I love this idea and only wish someone had given me a panettone so I could make this. It looks SO divine and I haven't had breakfast yet! :-)

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    1. Isn't it awful reading food blogs before breakfast, Valentina? I try never to do it! Happy New Year!

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  10. I LOVE using panettone for anything like this wonderful breakfast dish and bread and butter pudding (which I just made with mine)! Definitely had better texture and flavor than using normal egg-less bread! Happy new year, David!!

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    1. Bread pudding is another great way to use panettone! Hope yours was perfect, Christina!

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  11. Pain perdu was one of my go to meals back in my Paris days, when I was on a limited budget. I loved it, but this really brings it to another level: panettone, fiori di Sicilia.... Yum!

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    1. Definitely something Proust would have appreciated, right Frank?

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  12. Now this is one fine way of using up panettone. I adore French toast, despite rarely eating it. And the Italian version of stuffing it with anchovies? Yes please!

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    1. You are the third person whose mentioned the savory Italian version... guess I need to post on that soon, John!

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  13. OMG panettone would make perfect French toast! I am going to work on a stuffed French toast recipe to use up some of my frozen berries--now I wish I had a panettone laying around...

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    1. I am sure you could find a nice stale one on sale, Inger!

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  14. Great minds think alike ...
    I'll be posting recipes for Panettone Pain Perdu and for Panettone Bread Pudding in a few hours. Not to worry, I refer to your delicious post, as well as the one that BAM posted last week. I guess Christmas brings out the pain in all of us.

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    1. Haha! Yes, John... great minds indeed! Ashley from La Tavola Marche also posted the same! All slightly different, which is fun!

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  15. Can I come for breakfast? I am not much of a French toast lover but I love your panettone perdu.

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    1. You can come any time, Gerlinde! You know, I don't really love French toast, either, but this version does kind of make me weak in the knees!

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  16. We all love French toast and I love your recipe using pannetone! This is a terrific dish for Christmas morning breakfast, David! :) next year it's on the menu...Yummmm

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    1. Thanks, Marcelle! It definitely is a special occasion version of the good ol' French toast!

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  17. Great idea! Why didn't I think of this?

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    1. Maybe because you didn't receive 8 of them for Christmas?

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