Brioche Perdue, French Toast with Chocolate Praliné Spread

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהMom stands by the large skillet, and we watch her from the Formica table at the other end of the kitchen. A long sizzle fills the room as a pat of butter hits the skillet. She tilts the skillet over the open flame, letting the butter slide in all directions, coating the surface. Then she places a slice of challah, soaked in a milk and egg batter, onto the melted butter. The aroma of caramelizing butter and challah begins to fill the house.

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהפרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהThe intoxicating smell makes the wait seem endless from our spot on the other side of the kitchen. Using the spatula with the red handle, she flips the slice over and gently presses it down so it’s completely enveloped in the hot butter. When Mom feels it’s just the right moment, she takes the slice out of the skillet and places it on a plate. That’s our cue to dive into the French toast and savor every bite.

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהNow, I must confess, there are two camps when it comes to French toast, much like there are for latkes. One camp prefers their French toast and latkes with sugar, making the whole creation sweet. The other camp prefers the savory version, without sugar and perhaps with a sprinkle of salt. I must admit, I belong entirely to the savory camp. To me, both French toast and latkes are savory creations, just like a quiche or matzo brei.

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהפרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהBut then I arrived in Paris and discovered a different world of French toast, or more precisely, “lost bread.” Interestingly, the term “French toast” is not used in France! There, it is called Pain Perdu, meaning “lost bread,” referring to bread that has gone stale.

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהפרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהIn France, it’s usually made with stale brioche, transforming it into a new delicacy called Brioche Perdue, preventing any waste of the once fresh but now dry brioche. The staleness is crucial because the drier the brioche, the better it absorbs the batter, making it the beloved treat we adore. Of course, you can also make it with stale challah or Pain de Mie if brioche is unavailable.

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהפרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהIn France, Pain Perdu is served in two ways—sweet and savory. As a sweet dish, it can be served for breakfast, as a dessert, or as a snack during the goûter. As a savory dish, it can be prepared with cheese or charcuterie and served as an appetizer or main course.

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהפרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהI created this recipe with Cyril Gaidella, the pastry chef of “Boulangerie Zest” located in one of Paris’s suburbs. I first met Gaidella at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris (which is coming up again soon) and have been following his work ever since. When I saw he started selling decadent Brioche Perdue at his boulangerie, I knew it was time to visit him. 😊

פרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהפרנצ׳ טוסט בריוש עם ממרח שוקולד פרלינהFrench Toast with Chocolate Praliné Spread
3-4 servings (depends on the size)

Ingredients
Brioche Dough: recipe inside. Use plain and uncoated brioche, as dry as possible

Chocolate Praliné Spread:
200g praliné paste, recipe inside
1/2 vanilla bean
Pinch of Fleur-de-Sel
35g dark chocolate, melted
45g milk chocolate, melted

Batter for Dipping the Brioche:
150g eggs
250g whipping cream 
75g whole milk
50g light brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

For Caramelizing:
Light brown sugar
Butter (if choosing to caramelize in a skillet)

For Decoration: 60g chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preparation
1. Brioche: Cut the brioche into thick slices, about 5-6 cm (2-2.5 inches) thick each.
2. Chocolate Praliné Spread: Mix all the spread ingredients together and set aside. If it’s very warm, place the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes until it slightly firms up.
3. Batter for Dipping the Brioche: In a large bowl, mix all the batter ingredients. It’s recommended to use an immersion blender to create a smooth, uniform batter.

Assembly
4. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Dip the brioche slices into the batter, ensuring they soak up as much as possible. Arrange them on the baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 10-11 minutes until the slices are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
7. Caramelizing: Arrange the brioche slices on serving plates, sprinkle sugar over the brioche, and caramelize using a kitchen torch. Another option is to caramelize in a skillet—melt a bit of butter in the skillet, sprinkle a layer of brown sugar, and place the brioche slice on the sugar. Caramelize for about a minute until the sugar melts and caramelizes.
8. Place the brioche on a serving plate with the caramelized side up, generously drizzle with the chocolate praliné spread, garnish with chopped toasted hazelnuts, and enjoy immediately.

Bon-Appétit
Sharon

Comments

  • 03 July 2024
    Julia

    Amazing 🤩
    This french toast looks so tantalizing and delicious, the pictures are wonderful and get all the juices flowing 😉😋

    Merci 🙏
    Julia

    reply

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