savory pain perdu

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

i think the one thing that’s sure to ruin a good dinner party is a lack of carbs — particularly where that lack of carbs manifests as a shortage of baguettes. to prevent total-dinner-party-failure, i always try to have extra on hand: at least one baguette to accompany the pre-dinner cheese plate, and then at least one more to offer later in the evening to help soak up everything else (the sauces served at dinner and, in most cases, the wine in our bellies).

the morning after, it’s not uncommon for me to find myself not only with several empty bottles of wine and a stack of dirty dishes, but also the half a baguette or so left on the counter overnight in my haste to get to bed. predictably, the unwrapped bread’s overnight stay on the counter has left it a bit worse for the wear.

appropriate, then, for the forgotten slices to be resurrected the next morning as pain perdu (literally “lost bread”).

while i have nothing at all against the better-known sugar-and-syrup-soaked french toasts, i think you’ll agree that this savory take may well set the new standard.

although my recipe was inspired by the one that appears here:, I note that my take is much, much worse for you and therefore necessarily much, much more delicious.

serving suggestions: you might elect to serve it with a poached egg, as suggested by gourmet. candidly, i find poached eggs terrifically tedious (unless someone else is in charge of the vinegar and boiling water bit), so i opted for scrambled eggs. scrambled eggs sprinkled with the TRUFFLE SALT that @jesshorwitz brought over. and greens left over from the aforementioned dinner party. look at me, using all the things!

the stuff:
6 slices baguette, approximately 1 in. thick
1c. heavy whipping cream
1 egg
3/4-1 c. gruyere, shredded
1T butter

the how-to
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. lightly grease your pan (i used a round cake pan because it was both handy AND clean)
3. arrange sliced bread in one layer in the bottom of the greased pan
4. beat cream and egg until fluffy, add salt and pepper, and pour over the sliced bread. sprinkle evenly with grated cheese. press down on the bread to help it soak up the egg and cream mixture (which will later turn into a perfect light little custard, btw. yes. that’s right. i said custard).
5. place one small piece of butter on top of each slice of bread.
6. gourmet suggests that you now let everything stand on the countertop for 15 minutes, but i was hungry and skipped that step. no harm, no foul.
7. bake 20-25 mins until golden brown.

I also note that this makes for lovely leftovers– just throw everything back in the oven to warm it up. We revisited the little guys for a light dinner, where the flavors were compared to those of a croque monsieur. which is to say, delicious.


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