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
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
Serve it with butter and syrup, simply with butter, or a dusting
of confectioner's sugar. It is sure to brighten any winter morning.
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
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.
Labels: breakfast, brunch, eggs, fiori di sicilia, french toast, panettone