Pain Perdu (French Toast)


1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (+ more as needed)
6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (or half-and-half)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large brioche loaf (or challah)
Unsalted butter
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted


Serves 6

Combine strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

Add cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment; beat until soft peaks begin to form. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat oven to 250°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, honey, 1 tablespoon of sugar, remaining vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Slice bread in 3/4-inch slices. Pour egg mixture into a large shallow plate and soak a few slices of bread for 4 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Take each slice of bread from egg mixture, dip one side in toasted almonds, and place in the saute pan, almond side down. (While you're cooking each batch, add more bread to egg mixture to soak.) Cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place cooked bread on a baking sheet and keep it warm in oven. Wipe out pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil, and continue to fry remaining soaked bread until they're all cooked. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve hot with strawberries.