The lost art of pain perdu 

 December 6, 2020

By  Tatiana

Everyone in the Netherlands knows this dish as French toast, but in France we call it pain perdu. That means lost bread, because it is made from old slices of bread that would otherwise go to waste. As you can see from Monday’s photo, we didn’t have this dish on the original breakfast table. We did not have stale bread then. In the meantime, and this typical French dish should not be missing from a real French (Christmas) breakfast. Pain perdu often comes on the table a few times after Christmas because after days of eating there is a lot of bread that cannot be used in any other way.


  • 10 slices of bread
  • butter, for the pan

    For the batter
  • 500 ml of milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar

    As a topping
  • 5 tablespoons of brown sugar (as dark as possible)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon


Place a frying pan with a knob of butter on a low heat. While the pan is heating you can make the batter: Beat the two eggs. You only need to beat a little bit so that the yolk and egg white mix. You certainly don’t want to whip so much that the eggs start to foam. Heat the milk and dissolve the vanilla sugar in it. Then mix the milk with the eggs while stirring well with a fork.

If your (old) bread hasn’t been sliced ​​yet, now is the right time to do so. You can make nice thick slices up to two centimeters thick, or a little thinner if you want.

Soak your cuts in the batter so that they absorb a lot of moisture. You can soak them for up to a minute per cut.

Now it is time to slide the soaked bread into the pan. Make sure the heat is not too high, otherwise the butter will brown and give the bread a bad taste. Pay close attention to the color of each slice when baking. Your pain perdu should not be too dark. Light brown is perfect, but your bread needs to be on the stove for a while to make sure it is no longer soggy inside.

While baking bread, mix the sugar and cinnamon for your topping. Make sure the sugar and cinnamon are well mixed together.

In France we usually serve enough pain perdu for a whole family. It will be one big pile, but the slices must still be separated from each other. When doing this, make sure there is some butter between the cuts. If you only make pain perdu for one or two people, this is not really necessary. You can then sprinkle the slices with your cinnamon sugar topping right away. If you cook for more people, you sprinkle every slice, followed by the ‘turret’ of pain perdu as a whole. The taste of sugar with cinnamon is a perfect combination with the taste of the pain perdu itself.

When serving, you can place a knob of butter on top of your warm pain perdu, or simply serve it with syrup. In France it is quite normal to always have a bowl of butter at room temperature to hand or on the table. I always put extra butter on my pancakes or pain perdu, because I’m just really a French woman who loves butter. The only thing I don’t like about butter is on my steak. But we’ll probably talk about that in another post.

In Spain, this combination of sugared French toast is called torrijas. This is very slightly different: Not only is sugar and cinnamon sprinkled over the bread after baking, but also before: After soaking the bread in the batter, it is, as it were, breaded with the cinnamon sugar, before putting it in the pan. goes. And straight out of the pan, they just get another layer of sugar.

This was the last blog about the French (Christmas) breakfast table, but certainly not the last time I will write about France and crazy French breakfasts. I actually thought it was a lot of fun and exciting to present this table and dishes to you and I also hope that I was able to share some more knowledge about France with you! I am also very curious about what should not be missing on your Christmas breakfast table!

Tomorrow the second week of Christmas starts in our house and I can’t wait to share the new Christmas table with you! A lot of goodies are coming! And many new recipes that I am happy to share with you.

Have a nice Sunday evening and see you again tomorrow.

Maybe you have other tasty things you like to do with bread that would otherwise have to go? I’d love to hear from you if you have any photos, tips or comments. I share the best photos of readers on Instagram, if I may.

Tatiana Tor

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Wishing you a great day, love Tatiana.

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