Challah Pain Perdu with Vanilla Cr\u00e8me Anglaise

Pain perdu is a French nursery dessert. Meaning "lost bread," it reclaims day-old leftover bread and is the French answer to, aptly named, French toast.

Challah is a traditional Jewish egg bread, slightly sweet and buttery, and very similar to a brioche, only it is braided and easily torn into soft, sinewy chunks. This recipe is the perfect way to use all the leftover challah from Hanukkah and turn it into a warming, winter breakfast that rekindles the holiday flames.

If you don't feel like making the vanilla custard sauce to spoon down on top, simply melt a jarful of good-quality fruit jam over low heat in a pot and serve it alongside.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is a Serious Eats intern and the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.

Challah Pain Perdu with Vanilla Crème Anglaise

About This Recipe

Yield:4 to 8


  1. 1

    Begin by making the crème anglaise. Heat the half and half in a saucepot over medium heat.

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a hand mixer until they are light and pale in color.

  3. 3

    Very slowly stream the hot half and half, while mixing, into the sugar-yolk mixture.

  4. 4

    Return the mixture to the saucepot and heat over medium heat. Add the vanilla. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the crème anglaise coats is thick and coats the back of the spoons. Pass through a strainer so that any bits of egg that have scrambled will be removed. Allow to cool only slightly while you assemble the pain perdu.

  5. 5

    Whisk together the half and half, sugar, honey, and eggs. In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoons of butter. Press the challah, one piece at a time, into the custard, flipping once, so the bread has a chance to soak it up, but not to become overly saturated. Sauté the custard-soaked bread about 4-5 minutes per side, or until golden, in batches, using more butter as necessary.

  6. 6

    Dust powdered sugar over the top of the pain perdu. Serve with the crème anglaise.


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