New Orleans-style French Toast

This is the local version of French toast, made with stale French bread. Pain perdu got its start as a way of using up leftover bread. We like it so much that we buy extra French bread and set it on the kitchen counter to get stale so we can make pain perdu, or sometimes bread pudding.

If you live outside New Orleans and can't get our local French bread, substitute your own locally available French or Italian bread. Don't use sourdough. Let the butter and oil get sizzling hot in the skillet before adding the soaked slices. Keep the fried slices warm in a 200 degree F oven while you finish cooking the rest.

In a large bowl combine the half-and-half or milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Soak the slices of stale French bread in the custard mixture until they're thorougly soaked.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy skillet and add the oil. When the butter and oil mixture is very hot, fry the soaked bread slices one or two at a time on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and hold in a warm oven until all the slices are cooked.

To serve, Sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar mixture just before serving. Serve with Louisiana cane syrup, a strongly-flavored honey or any good syrup of your choice (real maple or fruit syrups are lovely too, but avoid that artificially-flavored pancake syrup).

Serves 4.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)