So French

When I was in Fredericton (New-Brunswick), I hosted a cooking demonstration, selecting a family recipe. My grandmother who hated wasting food used to treat us with her scrumptious “Pain perdu” (lost or wasted bread). A wonderful way to salvage stale bread.

Pain perdu au whisky, sauteed pears and nougatine

Serves 6
For the pears and nougatine
3 pears
1 tbsp brown sugar
a pinch of black pepper
50 g butter
3 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp caster sugar

For the pain perdu
6 slices of stale brioche or bread
100 ml single cream
the seeds from half a vanilla pod
a pinch of black pepper
4 tbsp single malt
2 yolks
1 whole egg
2 tbsp brown sugar
30 g butter


  1. The pears Peel the pears, cut them in thin slices. Melt 25g butter in a pan, add the pears, sprinkle with brown sugar and pepper. When golden, take them out and keep warm.
  2. The nougatine Heat the rest of the butter (in the pan you cooked the pears in), add the almonds and the sugar. Let them caramelize (be careful not to let them burn! They would be bitter). Place on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Flatten the almonds and let cool down.
  3. The pain perdu Slice the brioche or the bread diagonally. Heat the cream with pepper and vanilla. Let infuse 10 min then add the whisky. Whisk the egg and yolks until they get frothy. Add the warm cream and stir. Pour in a soup dish. Warm the butter in the pan (keep the same pan!). Quickly soak the brioche in the milk and yolks mixture and place them on the pan. Cook them 1 min on each side.
    On each plate, place a slice of pain perdu, and cover with slices of pear and top with a piece on nougatine.

The slurp tip : Spray some whisky on the pain perdu before serving.

Optional: a scoop of vanilla icecream (or gingerbread icecrem see below)or an extra tbsp of cream.

To make your pain perdu irresistible, serve it with a gingerbread ice-cream

Gingerbread ice-cream

100 ml semi-skimmed milk
200 ml double cream
4 yolks
40 g caster sugar
3 gingerbread slices (jamaïcan ginger cake)
2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate


  1. Blend the gingerbread until you get thin crumbs. Leave aside.
  2. Bring the milk and cream to the boil. Whisk the yolks with the sugar. Pour warm milk and cream over the yolks. Stir and put back on the gas. Cook at medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. The cream must not boil. When it starts thickening, remove from the heat.
  3. Let cool for a little while, then add the gingerbread. Stir until the gingerbread is well integrated.. Place in the icecream maker.

The pairing

The vanilla, the almonds, and the smooth texture of the pain perdu call for a round, honeyed and pastry-like single malt. Balvenie Double Wood was my choice for the cooking demonstration. The sherry touch brought out fruity notes which married lusciously with pears and the caramel.

Aberlour 10 Year-Old, Longmorn 16 year Old, Strathisla 12 Year Old, Cardhu 12 year Old would have featured well too. A perfect dish for the rich Speyside single malts (but not heavily sherried). Highland malts like Glen Garioch, Dalwhinnie, Balblair, Auchentoshan Three Wood work well also.

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