Pain Perdu aux Pommes

A delicious, homely dessert from Michelin-starred chef Marc Meneau, via Simon Hopkinson. It requires 4 different preparations, but you can make custard and caramel sauce in advance, and even fry the apples, leaving only the bread to do at the last minute.

If you can’t be bothered to make custard, I’m sure it would be lovely with a scoop of good-quality ice cream (vanilla or maybe even cinnamon). Serves 4. Calories: about a million per serving.

250 ml milk
split vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
50 g caster sugar

Caramel sauce:
50 g butter
60 g caster sugar
3 tbs whipping cream

30g butter
3-4 eating apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thick wedges

30 g butter
2 egg yolks
60 g caster sugar
3 tbs whipping cream
4 thick slices of day-old baguette, cut on the diagonal (to maximise the bread-to-crust ratio)

To make the custard, heat the milk with the vanilla pod, cover, and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks lightly with the sugar. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and whisk it into the egg yolk mixture, then pour into the pan, and stir over low heat until thickened, without boiling. Pour into a jug, cover, and leave to cool.

Make the caramel sauce: melt the butter and sugar over a low heat without stirring, till the sugar is dissolved, then raise the heat and bubble until it caramelises (it might look a bit lumpy, but it will smooth out as it heats). Once it’s a nice toffee colour, remove from the heat and pour in the cream, keeping your had well clear of spatters. Stir to blend, set aside.

For the bread, mix the egg yolks, cream, and sugar in a wide, shallow bowl. About 10 minutes before you want to eat, put the bread slices in to soak. Turn them over aftar 5 minutes; they shouid absorb all of the egg mixture. Meanwhile, put the caramel sauce over a low heat, and heat 30 g butter in a frying pan. Fry the apples quickly until lightly browned, then add them to the caramel sauce to finish cooking. Add the remaining 30 g butter to the frying pan and fry the bread on each side over a fairly high heat until golden and crispy. Drain briefly on kitchen paper.

To serve, put a slice of bread on each plate and spoon over some apples and sauce. Pour a lake of custard around (or add a scoop of ice cream) and serve immediately.

Recipe from Simon Hopkinson’s Second Helpings of Roast Chicken.

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