Jason Paskewitz, chef and owner of Chicago’s The Blanchard, serves up a summery pain perdu at the restaurant’s Sunday brunch. As in traditional French toast recipes, slices of day-old brioche are soaked in an egg-and-vanilla bath for a luxurious, custardy texture. The mascarpone and strawberry topping is the cherry on top, and lets diners revel in the sneaky thrill of eating dessert for breakfast. Don’t fret if summer’s almost over—macerating berries revives and sweetens out-of-season fruit with a little added sugar. If you’re making this in batches, store already-cooked slices of the pain perdu in a warm oven so the whole brunch party can eat together at the same time. Devour this pain perdu recipe with wild abandon—and lose the rest of the afternoon in a nap. You earned it.
Note: Allow berries, sugar, and champagne vinegar to soak for at least an hour.
Pain Perdu with Mascarpone and Strawberries
PHOTO BY marcociannarel VIA GETTY IMAGES
4 slices thick-cut brioche, 2 inches in width
3 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
Pinch kosher salt
Powdered sugar, for garnish
How to Make It
In a medium glass bowl, mix ½ cup sugar, champagne vinegar, pinch of kosher salt, lemon zest and lemon juice until combined. Add sliced strawberries and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Crack eggs into a large bowl and scramble with a fork or whisk. Add ¼ cup of the sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream to the eggs in the bowl and mix until combined. Place sliced brioche in the bowl with the egg mixture and allow it to soak for at least 5 minutes.
In a large non-stick pan over low-medium heat, melt the butter. Once it is melted, place the egg-soaked brioche in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Remove brioche from pan, cut into halves on the diagonal and arrange on a large serving plate. Spoon all the strawberries and the liquid they created over the cooked brioche.
Garnish with a spoonful of mascarpone and powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
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