Pain perdu with stewed strawberries and maple syrup . . .

French Toast, or more commonly known in the early days as pain perdu (lost bread), is a recipe dating to the third and fourth century. But in those days it was made with milk. No eggs. And it was another use for old bread.

Since that time the recipe has adopted the name French toast. Possibly the addition of butter and eggs, and a syrup or sauce, had something to do with that.

We believe this version, although not particularly favorable for your wasteline, will indeed gain your favor.


In a bowl, whisk together two large eggs, 1-3/4 cups heavy cream, 1 tsp. good quality vanilla, (or a very generous tsp. vanilla extract), two drops of almond extract, and half a cup of granulated sugar. Pour into a flat dish with 2-inch rim.

Slice a day old (or better yet a TWO day old) bagette into three inch pieces (4) to create a flat ends. Place the pieces of bagette in the mixture and leave in the refrigerator overnight-(or at least for a few hours).


Trim and slice 2 pints strawberries - using the imported, large, thick hulled variety we tend to slice pieces from the outside of the strawberry, leaving the white, tasteless interior pulp for the garbage. Toss with granulated sugar and a bit of water in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Allow to stew slowly, stirring every few minutes. Once the strawberries have softened it is a good time to add maple syrup to taste. Careful. It's a hot and sticky tasting procedure and this mixture will burn your mouth.


Turn the oven to 350º and allow to come to temperature. Don't worry about the strawberry sauce. Just turn down the heat and let the flavors meld a bit.

Remove the bagette slices from the refrigerator. In a non-stick pan heat a healthy chunk of butter until the bubbles have just subsided. Carefully, with tongs, place the four pieces of bagette on end in the pan, browning the ends to a golden crisp. Flip to the opposite end and once crisped place the pan in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Using an oven mitt (the handle of the pan, as atested by our palm, is very hot) remove the pan from the oven, place one piece of the baked pain perdu flat on the plate, over-lap the second piece and pour strawberries and sauce over them. Add a sprinkle of icing sugar and serve.