Pain perdu with caramelized apples, walnuts and creme fraiche

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Everytime I turn on the TV, the infomercial for the Instyler seems to be on.  You know the one – the hairstyling tool that’s a combination of a curling/straightening iron with a brush attached.  They seem to be really pumping the $ into advertising this little gadget given that it’s on pretty much every minute of the day – pity it’s crap.

Sounds like a good idea in theory and it may very well work but who the hell was involved in hiring the ‘hairdresser’ who shows you how it works because don’t you think the ‘after’ shots of the models are way fuglier than the ‘before’ shots (and yes I’m aware the term ‘fugly’ is from the 90’s but I really do feel that in this case its use is completely warranted).  They claim that from this one simple tool you can make a multitude of different hairstyles, um yeah I guess that’s true if you don’t mind looking like you just walked out of a trailer park.

Luckily not everyone is out to rip you off…I can give you a money back guarantee that the brioche recipe that I gave you on Monday truly will give you at least 4 deliciously amazing treats that will have you coming back for more.  Here’s this week’s second recipe…

Pain perdu with caramelised apples, walnuts and creme fraiche

I first came across pain perdu whilst living in Paris and fell in love with it straight away.  The translation of pain perdu is ‘lost bread’ and the reason for that is that this dish was a way to save or stale or ‘lost’ bread.  It is very similar to what we know as french toast but the difference I find between the two is that with pain perdu, the bread/brioche is soaked in the custard mixture for a period of time to allow it to soak right through the bread rather than a quick run through the egg mixture which I associate with french toast.  Allowing the bread to soak, makes the texture of the inside of the brioche extremely silky and custardy.  Trust the French to take it to the next level.

Serves 2 (can easily be multiplied to serve more)

What you need:

  • stale brioche loaf (2-3 slices per person)
  • 200g whole milk
  • 80g thickened/heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 apples
  • 60g butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw sugar + 2 additional tbsp
  • handful of walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • creme fraiche and maple syrup to serve

What to do:

Cut 1 inch slices of brioche and cut diagonally into triangles

Mix the milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and eggs and put into a shallow baking dish.  Put in the brioche slices, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge for about 20 mins to allow the bread to soak in the mixutre.  After 10 mins turn the pieces over.

While the brioche is soaking prepare the apples.  Peel, core and quarter each apple.  Then cut each quarter into thirds.  Heat 30g of the butter in a large pan and when it starts to froth add the apples.  Stir for around 6-8mins until starting to soften.  Add the cinnamon and stir until incorporated and then add the sugar and let cook for another couple of mins until the sugar has melted and the apple pieces have browned.  Put the apples on a plate and cover with foil.

Take the brioche out of the fridge and heat the rest of the butter in the pan, again when frothing sprinkle the rest of the sugar into the pan, creating an even layer across the pan.  This will give the pain perdu a lovely crust.  Put the pieces of brioche in the pan and cook for about 3-4 mins on each side, until each side is golden brown.

Pop the pain perdu on the plate and top with the apples, walnuts and creme fraiche and serve with maple syrup.

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  • Claire Malamo

    The InStyler is great…try before you bag it out

    • Maybe it is great and perhaps I was a little harsh in hindsight, but I do have to standby the fact that the infomercials certainly do not do any favours for this product.