Pain Perdu aka French Toast

Pain perdu, French toast, gypsy toast, eggy bread – whatever you call it, this dish is a brilliant one to have in your repertoire. Basically, it’s a batter soaked stale bread made into a sweet or savoury dish, perfect for a quick breakfast, brunch, lunch, pudding or snack. Plus it’s a great way to use up some state bread, you can’t argue with a recipe that does that!

I’ve been attending a plant-based patisserie course to extend my knowledge and I’ve learnt so much, it’s been just brilliant and it’s really going to enhance my recipes 😊 

Last week we made brioche with no butter or eggs – I’ve made a brioche before but the techniques I’ve recently learnt give a much improved rich, but light result and it was the perfect bread to turn into a platter of pain perdu. Like many home baked breads, it went stale fast – making it the perfect vehicle for this new improved recipe.

Dairy-free and egg-free brioche

Don’t worry if you don’t have homemade plant-based brioche on hand (I’m sure not many people will!), any slightly stale sliced bread will do. You’d think you might miss the eggs in an ‘eggy bread’ recipe, but as the principle is soaking the bread in a batter (and pancakes work pretty well being egg-free), this recipe is equally successful. In fact, this recipe just uses some leftovers (stale bread) plus a few store cupboard essentials to combine to make a rather superior dish. If you don’t have any stale bread, just cut some slices an hour or so early and leave out to air dry and you’re good to go.

I’ve flavoured my batter with cinnamon but you don’t have to if you’d rather no spice, or vanilla would be rather lovely too. Serve your pain perdu with berries, a sprinkle of icing sugar and a squeeze of honey or syrup for a delightful quick and easy sweet treat.

Pain Perdu

 (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

30g flour

20g cornflour

30g caster sugar

½ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Pinch of salt

120g dairy-free milk

6-8 slices of slightly stale bread

  1. Sift the flour and cornflour into a shallow bowl, stir in the sugar, salt and cinnamon (if using).
  2. Pour in 1/3rd of the milk whisking together to make a paste, then add the rest in two further additions. This helps avoid lumps forming in the batter – you can of course add the milk in one go if you’re not so bothered about a few small lumps! Let the batter rest for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Place a frying pan on the heat to warm up.
  4. Place the bread slices in the batter, letting them soak up the batter for a couple of minutes before turning over and making sure both sides are drenched in batter.
  5. Melt a knob of vegan butter or 1 tsp of oil in the pan. Drop in a drip of the batter, if it sizzles then you’re ready to add the batter soaked bread
  6. Fry the slices until golden on each side.
  7. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and drizzled with syrup. A garnish of berries is also rather nice.

Egg-Free Herby Savoury French Toast

IMG_5495 I really really wanted to find another addition to our limited breakfast repertoire. Pancakes are our ‘go to’ special breakfast but everyone needs a bit of variety now and then. I was thinking about how our breakfasts veer towards the sweet (unless marmite is involved!) and how it would be nice to have some savoury options to hand. I then remembered eating eggy bread with tomato ketchup at University – and how would that work egg-free? So last weekend we had this experimental breakfast – wow, what a hit! You’d never think eggy bread could work without the eggs, but boy does it work well! Somehow the cornflour enables the milky mix to cling correctly to the bread and the herbs make it lean just enough towards the savoury. So how happy am I? Another breakfast of champions perfect for cold wintery days with no milk or eggs 🙂

Egg-free Herby Savoury French Toast (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan) IMG_5497

  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence or dried thyme/oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Slices of slightly stale bread (2 per person)
  • Flavourless oil for frying

– Place the flours, herbs and seasoning into a shallow bowl

– Add a little bit of milk to make a smooth paste, then whisk in the rest of the milk, let sit for at least 10 minutes

– When ready to cook, heat a little oil over a medium heat, dunk a couple of slices in the milk mix and pace in the frying pan

– Cook until golden, then turn over and repeat on the other side.

– Keep warm until ready to eat. Serve with sauce of choice. My children favour tomato ketchup, I’m quite keen on a dash of smokey chipotle Tabasco or some roasted cherry tomatoes. IMG_5494

Egg-free French Toast/Pain Perdu

I haven’t eaten French toast since I was at Uni, but there’s something ultimately comforting about it. I can’t take any credit for this idea…. My lovely friend and fellow blogger Somer posted a divine looking French Toast recipe which I just had to give a go. I didn’t have any gram (chickpea) flour so changed the original recipe a bit. I’m sure Somer’s version is the ultimate French toast but this version is pretty scrummy too! This makes a perfect weekend breakfast when there’s a bit of extra time to spare – making breakfasts interesting can be tricky when you’re dairy, egg and nut free so it’s a delight to find another special safe breakfast alternative. Yet another recipe where you think ‘hang on, this can’t work without egg’, but it does. Served here with maple syrup.

Egg-free French Toast (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups oat milk
  • 4 tbsps cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsps plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsps caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-8 slices of bread, preferably slightly stale

– Whisk together the oat milk, cornflour, flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.

– Heat a frying pan and melt a little dairy-free spread until sizzling

– Dip a slice of bread in the batter mix and place in the pan.

– Fry on each side until golden. Keep warm and dip and fry the other slices of bread.

– Serve drizzled with maple syrup and dust with icing sugar.

– Garnish with fresh fruit.