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Eat this Word: Pain Perdu



April 23, 2010


WHAT? Leftover loaf. To make pain perdu, or "lost bread," stale slices of baguette or brioche are revived by a soak in an egg and milk bath and then browned in butter until crisp. We know it as French toast in the U.S., but versions of this custardy concoction can be found throughout most of Europe. In Portugal, the dish is called rabanadas; in Spain, families tuck into honey-coated torrijas; and in England the strangely named "poor knights of Windsor" has been a delicacy since the 17th-century (when it was often doused in wine and finished with almond milk). Pain perdu's origins are unknown, but a similar recipe appears in the writings of Roman chef Apicius from the first century A.D.. Today, New Orleans chefs have claimed pain perdu as their own, adding cinnamon and vanilla to the egg mixture and serving the dish with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a dollop of jam or a drizzle of cane syrup. Other cooks are even putting a savory spin on the soaked bread, like the pumpernickel pain perdu prepared by Tyler Anderson. WHERE? Tyler Anderson's Beard House dinner WHEN? April 26, 2010 HOW? Arctic Char with Pumpernickel Pain Perdu, Ramps, and Currants