Pain Perdu


1 loaf brioche or challah, sliced 1” thick, night before
3 eggs, beaten           
1 egg yolk           
1 cup cream           
1 cup milk           
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 clove           
1 star anise           
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped           
1 tablespoon oil spray (Pam/ vegalene)           
2 tablespoons butter           
3 cups farm fresh berries, washed and trimmed as needed           
1/2  vanilla bean, scraped           
2 ounces lemon verbena           
1 cup orange juice           
2 strips orange peel
1/4 cup sugar or honey


Bring the cream and milk to a simmer with the cinnamon, clove, star anise and 1/2 vanilla bean with the seeds. Let steep 5 minutes. Strain and cool.

Boil the orange juice and add the sugar or honey, lemon verbena and the remaining vanilla bean. Simmer and add the berries successively by firmness (strawberries, then blackberries, then blueberries, then raspberries) and simmer and hold warm off heat.

Whisk the eggs and yolk into the cream and milk and soak the bread in it for 1 minute each slice.

Heat a griddle and spray with oil and sauté the French toast until browned, then add the butter and flip and cook through.

Lay the French toast on a platter and pour the berries over the top. Sprin-kle with powdered sugar and add whipped cream or crème fraiche, if you like. Garnish with lemon verbena leaves and serve. Enjoy!

YIELD: Makes 12 servings.

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Chef Jamie Smith

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