French Toast Gets Fancy With This Pain Perdu Recipe

What the French call pain perdu, we call French toast. Here, we add mascarpone, candied almonds, and raspberry syrup to transform this breakfast favorite. Make it on a weeknight as dessert or let our Pain Perdu shine for Sunday brunch.

Pain Perdu with Lemon Mascarpone, Candied Almonds, and Raspberry Syrup

(Serves 4)

1 lemon
8 ounces milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 slices brioche
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 ounce raspberry preserves
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
2 eggs
canola oil
kosher salt

1. If you have a zester and want to infuse your mascarpone with even more flavor, rinse and zest up to whole lemon (see recipe tip), then halve. In a large baking dish, whisk together milk, vanilla, cinnamon, 2 eggs, and ¼ teaspoon salt to combine (doing this in a baking dish, rather than in a bowl, helps the brioche soak evenly and all at once).

2. Add brioche slices to baking dish with custard in a single layer. Let soak on 1 side, 2 minutes, then flip and soak 2 minutes more (see recipe tip). Transfer to a plate and set aside for Step 5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together mascarpone, lemon zest (if using), and half of powdered sugar to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

3. In a small pot, whisk together raspberry preserves, 1 squeeze lemon juice, ⅓ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium high; simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, 5–6 minutes. Remove pot from heat; cover to keep warm until ready to serve. Use remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.

4. Place almonds in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring, until light golden, 2–3 minutes. Add turbinado sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until sugar begins to melt and cling to almonds, 2–3 minutes more. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring vigorously, to coat, 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat. Transfer almonds to a plate; set aside to cool. Rinse pan and wipe clean for the next step.

5. Return pan from almonds to medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons canola oil. When oil is shimmering, add soaked brioche in a single layer. Cook, working in batches and adding oil in between as needed, until golden on bottom, 2–4 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and cook until golden brown, 3–5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

6. Divide pain perdu among serving plates. Dollop over lemon mascarpone. Drizzle over raspberry syrup and garnish with candied almonds. Dust with remaining powdered sugar. Place powdered sugar in a fine-mesh sieve and shake gently over the pain perdu for the perfect light dusting. If you don’t have a fine-mesh sieve, feel free to use a spoon for sprinkling. Enjoy!

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