Thursday 30 September 2021

A Simple Pain Perdu

A Simple Pain Perdu 
Sometimes you want a dessert that feels special but that won't take up a lot of time or ingredients.  I confess, I can be rather lazy like that at times, in fact I would say most of the time.

My time is precious and I am so busy that it can sometimes be a struggle to get in all the things I need to get done!  That's when desserts like Pain Perdu come in really handy.

A Simple Pain Perdu

 In France, French Toast is actually called Pain Perdu, which loosely translated means lost bread. It was designed to use up every scrap of bread, especially stale bread. 

With its sinfully crisp and buttery crust and exquisitely sweet custardy interior, it turns something which might be thrown away into something quite magical. 

A Simple Pain Perdu

It makes a fabulous brunch or breakfast at the weekend, but let me tell you this.  Something mystical happens when you make it with leftover cake or sweet loaves.

This isn't breakfast or brunch any longer. This is a fabulously  quick, easy and delicious dessert! A dessert I would even serve to company!

A Simple Pain Perdu 
If you are regular readers of mine, you will recall that the other day I baked Mary Berry's Swiss Roll cake.  Oh my but it was some good.   

But, like any cake, it was best eaten on the day. Its still good the second day, but by the third day it was needing some help.  I was going to make French Toast for breakfast this morning and I did. 

French Toast

Using some stale Brioche that I had.  And it looked really good.  But then I spied the leftover swiss roll sitting on the counter and my wheels started to spin.

What if I used the same method to cook that?  What if indeed!

A Simple Pain Perdu 

You know me when I get an idea in my head. I won't rest until I execute it!  The French toast could wait for another day.

I wanted Pain Perdu . . .  made with cake . . .  with some fruit and ice cream . . .  dessert for breakfast and why not!  Yes, I can be very naughty at times.

A Simple Pain Perdu 
And so that is what I did and it was fabulous.  I cut the leftover swiss roll into 1 inch thick slices and then I dipped it into the cream and egg mixture I had for the French toast and I fried it in butter.

I felt like that was okay because, the cake itself was fat free.  Half a dozen of one, six of another.

A Simple Pain Perdu 
I toasted it in a skillet in foaming butter until it was olden brown on both sides.  The edges all crisp and caramelized.

The interior staying soft, fluffy and soufflé-like.  Almost like a bread pudding.  Rich from the cream and eggs.

A Simple Pain Perdu 

Not overly sweet. It doesn't need to be.  There was that sweet swirl from the jam already and then served with fruit and ice cream, you didn't need any more sweet.

This was quite simply fabulous and so quick to make.

A Simple Pain Perdu 
I was only going to eat a tiny taste of it (I had only done one slice because I had already done two slices of French toast.)

But before I knew it, it was half gone.  Oh my, but it was some good. I abandoned the idea of having French Toast for breakfast and just had this in its place.

A Simple Pain Perdu 
I used a frozen mix of fruit on top.  Mango, peaches, strawberries. I had bought some raspberries, but they went moldy overnight.  I hate it when that happens.

I hate wasting money like that. It makes me not want to buy fresh fruit at all. I think sometimes because we live here, low in the valley we are at the bottom of the food chain or something.  I have been very disappointed in the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables available, unless you get it at the Farm market.  

Most of the stuff in the grocery shops is sub-standard.  People told me before I went to the UK that their food was rubbish. I have news for them. It was a bazillion times better than what I am finding here.  But I digress.

A Simple Pain Perdu

Before I knew it, frozen fruit or not,  my plate was clean and my breakfast had been replaced with a delicious, quick, easy and fabulous dessert.

Some days are just like that n'est ce pas? 

You don't have to use swiss roll cake for this tasty pudding. You can use any kind of cake you fancy that is going a bit stale. Gingerbread, pumpkin loaf, pound cake, etc. All would be exceptional.

A quick and easy dessert from what would normally be thrown to the birds.  What more could you ask for!

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
A Simple Pain Perdu

A Simple Pain Perdu

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 25 Min
A homey comforting dessert that is a cross somewhere between a bread pudding and French toast. A very simple make, this makes the ideal dessert served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some fresh fruit.


  • 2/3 cup (160ml) heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 large free range eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 4 (1 inch thick) slices of your favorite plain cake (I used swiss roll, but you can use pumpkin loaf, pound cake, angel food cake,etc.)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) butter for cooking
To serve:
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • a good vanilla ice cream
  • fruit of your choice


  1. Whisk the cream, eggs and sugar together in a large shallow bowl or container. Dip the first two slices of cake into the egg mixture and leave to soak up for 5 minutes.
  2. Melt half of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter begins to foam, add the cake slices. While they are cooking soak the remaining slices of cake.
  3. Brown the slices of cake over medium heat, until golden brown on both sides.  Drain on paper towel and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining slices of cake in the remaining butter as above.
  4. Place one slice on each of four dessert plates.  Dust with icing sugar.  Top with some fruit an a scoop of ice cream and serve immediately.  Deliciously simple!
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1 comment

  1. What a genius idea - I'd never have thought to do that but it looks fabulous and I bet it tasted good too.

    I sympathise with you over the substandard fresh produce. I live in a small town as well and sometimes it feels like we are last on the delivery list and get whatever is left in the truck. I've never seen fresh produce spoil so fast in my life and wondered if it was a ploy to get you to shop more often.


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