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Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauces

Wintry window scene – NYC

The photo above is what I woke up to this morning.  Yet another snowstorm and blustery day in NYC.  We haven’t really had a winter like this in the 14+ years I’ve lived here.  Then, the heat and hot water stopped working in my apartment.  It kicked back in a while later, fortunately.  I was going to cook up something really wonderful as a Valentine’s Day dessert recipe, but my inspiration faded fast with the drifting snowflakes and the temperatures dropping inside my home.

Faux recipe set up

I had gathered up all the ingredients for a potential recipe, having even bought extra chocolate in a pre-storm grocery run, looked at them on the counter, and then decided to scrap the plan.  The laziness factor kicked in, and I didn’t want to mess with measuring cups and ovens and such.  Instead, I decided to recycle some recipes and to forage in the fridge and freezer for leftovers.  I love leftovers, and in the kitchens I’ve worked in, we try to make the most of everything, even leftover bread.  So, this Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauce was the first thing that came to my slightly frozen mind (plus, someone had mentioned wanting pain perdu this week).

Here’s how it came together:

Brioche rolls

The best bread for this recipe is thick-cut slices of brioche bread.  I do have a whole loaf of it stored in my freezer, but I didn’t want to break into that.  I found these brioche rolls that remain from another cooking project shoved in the back, so they seemed perfect for this project.  I defrosted them and split them in half.

This amount of milk left still means you have to go downstairs to get another carton

Fortunately, there was just enough milk left in the bottom of the carton for this project so that I could make the egg mixture for the Pain Perdu (basically, a fancy French Toast).  This is the same amount that my little brother used to leave in the carton so that he would not, technically, be the person to finish the last of the milk, so, thereby, not having to go downstairs to the back up refrigerator (yes, large families have a back up refrigerator) to get a whole new gallon of milk.  This was an on-going battle for years when we were growing up.

Leftover chocolate sauce

I know, that phrase doesn’t make sense, right?  I mean, who has “leftover” chocolate sauce?  Well, there was some remaining after I’d tested the recipe for Spice Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce last week.  I could have just eaten all of it directly from the container with a spoon, but I was trying to be a bit good.

Caramel sauce bubbling away

While chocolate takes center stage today on Valentine’s Day, and I really do love eating chocolate, I’m also a huge fan of caramel.  A little secret?  It is super easy to make at home, as I wrote about in this Millionaire’s Shortbread recipe.  The only down side?  Once you figure it out, you might be tempted to make it all the time, and then just sit there and eat it by the spoonful.  Or maybe that’s just my issue…

Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauce

Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Serving Size: 2 portions (if you share, you can stretch it to 4)


4 slices Brioche Bread (or 2 Brioche Rolls split in half)

1 Egg (in this case, size doesn’t matter, just whatever you have on hand)

1/4-1/3 c. Whole Milk (whatever is left in the carton)

1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 pinch Salt

1 tsp. Butter (again, just use what you have)

Chocolate Sauce (click link for recipe)

Caramel Sauce (click link for recipe)


Bread in egg mixture

Warm up a skillet over medium heat.  While waiting for it to get hot, mix together the egg, milk, vanilla, and salt.  Dunk the bread slices in the mixture.  Toss the butter into the pan and let it melt.

Pain Perdu cooking

When the butter has melted, remove the bread from the egg mixture and place it in the pan.  Let it cook for several minutes until it becomes golden brown.  Flip it over and then cook it on the second side until it also becomes golden brown.

Chocolate and caramel sauces

While the Pain Perdu is cooking, set up the plate with the two sauces.  I spread the chocolate sauce in the middle of the plate and then surrounded it by a ring of the caramel sauce.  You could choose to do the opposite or to divide the plate evenly in half between the two sauces.  It’s up to you and your taste preferences.

Pain Perdu with Caramel and Chocolate Sauces

Once the Pain Perdu finished browning, I added that to the plate on top of the sauces, the residual heat from the cooking process melted all of the sauces together, making them warm and gooey.

Cleaning the plate

Then, I sat on the couch in front of the tv, watching as the snowstorm switched over to sleet and freezing rain, and ate the whole entire thing all by myself.  Sometimes snowdays are the best thing ever!

Buon appetito!

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