- ¼ cup light cream or half-and-half
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 12 slices stale French bread, each measuring about 4 inches across and 1 inch thick
- 1 quart vegetable oil (for deep-fat frying)
- Confectioners’ (10 X) sugar (for dusting)
Known elsewhere as French toast, this Louisiana brunch and breakfast classic deliciously recycles stale French bread.
- Beat the cream, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and nutmeg in a large electric mixer bowl at moderately high speed for about 2 minutes until thick and creamy.
- Place 3 to 4 bread slices in the egg mixture, let stand for 15 seconds, then turn the slices and soak the flip sides for another 15 seconds. Transfer the dipped slices to a wax paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat until all slices are saturated with the egg mixture. Cover with foil or plastic food wrap and refrigerate for several hours.
- When ready to proceed, pour the oil into a large, deep skillet and insert a deep-fat thermometer. Set over moderate heat and bring the oil to a temperature of 380° F. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250° F. Also line two baking sheets with foil and set aside.
- When the oil reaches 380° F., ease three slices of soaked bread into the skillet and fry until a rich golden brown; this will take 1 to 2 minutes per side if you keep the temperature of the oil as close to 380° F. as possible. Drain the browned slices on paper toweling, then transfer to foil-lined baking sheets and set in the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all of the slices have been browned.
- To serve, overlap two slices of Pain Perdu on each of six heated plates, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve at once with heated cane syrup or maple syrup.