Pain perdu literally means “lost bread” in French, referring to using up day-old bread before it goes stale. In France, thick slices of bread are soaked in a sweetened, vanilla custard mixture, then fried in butter and often topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or berries.
The Chinese love their French toast soaked in butter. To make it Hong Kong-style, they coat the slices of bread in two already-beaten egg yolks, then fry the soaked bread with many cubes of butter. After the bread is fried to golden-brown, it’s topped with another large cube of butter and drizzled with condensed milk or golden syrup. Sometimes peanut butter or jam is spread on the slices of bread.
Irish toast is a take on French toast that is a little bit different than most — the Irish don’t eat the bread. Instead, plain bread is dunked into a dish full of whiskey, then thrown in the trash. The whiskey is then drunk from the dish. This is typically reserved for holidays and special occasions.
The name “golden bread” is inspired by the golden-brown color of the bread after it’s soaked in sweetened, cinnamon custard, fried in butter, and drizzled with amber maple syrup.
The dutch version of French toast is sprinkled simply with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Torrijas is believed to have originated in Andalusian convents during the fifteenth century, and today is eaten during Lent. The Spanish traditionally make it with a French baguette. Some versions are made by soaking the bread in red wine or by drizzling flavored honey over the bread.
In Morocco, French toast is made by slicing flatbread into long pieces, dusting it with powdered sugar, and dipping it into syrup for a sweet finger food.
Italians enjoy their French toast in sandwich form, where one slice of bread is spread with ricotta cheese, drizzled with honey over the cheese, and sprinkled with sliced almonds and a bit of cinnamon, then topped off with a second slice.