Pain Perdu (French Toast) With Mascarpone Cream and Berries

Our Sundays have changed since last week. We start pretty early with a trip to the church to drop off our son for his Boy Scout meeting, an unhurried breakfast, food shopping, then Sunday mass at around midday at the church where we pick him up.  It almost seems like a model Sunday morning for a typical family. Prior to this new twist to our hectic Sunday schedule, we were your typical family on a lazy Sunday morning.

We usually take our time in getting up from our beds especially during those mornings when our cleaning lady doesn't arrive on some Sundays and we don't have anything scheduled for the day. If it's a free Sunday, well, think twice before knocking on our door, because most likely, all four of us would still be lounging around in our pajamas until very late in the morning. We have brunch together then we split ways to do our own activities. All four of us love our lazy Sunday mornings.

Brunch is practically everything and anything, that's why it's one of the best meals of the day. Well, yes, it does usually happen exclusively on Sundays when we can wake up really late but sometimes, we enjoy brunch too on Saturdays or on those weekdays when we are allowed an extra hour or two more in bed and pretend that it's Sunday. I love both savory and sweet treats in the morning drowned with a tall glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, a mug of hot tea and a cup of espresso to conclude the meal. 

There is already a growing number of restaurants in Rome serving Sunday brunch although they start rather late at around midday or 12:30, ehm, sometimes even 13:00. In my book, that is already lunch and technically, my tummy doesn't arrive that late for my first food intake. I do enjoy brunches around the city at times but sometimes, I create my own special brunch at home. Not as elaborate as the restaurant buffet tables but good enough for a family of four. Even if my kids still have a long way to go to learn to enjoy savory food too in the morning. 

I think in this blog, I have quite a collection of breakfast & brunch ideas because as you can see, it's my favorite meal of the day. Growing up exclusively with savory breakfasts, getting reprogrammed to enjoy sweet breakfasts when I moved to Italy widened my appreciation for food first thing in the morning. With my kids, it's the other way around. I have yet to convince them that savory breakfasts are also wonderful in the morning.

Now, let me introduce you to these French toasts or pain perdu. Pain perdu, which means lost bread in French is a way to revive stale bread the following day. This reminds me of how the leftover rice is also revived for breakfasts in the Philippines. Don't limit your enjoyment of pain perdu only for breakfasts. We also had them in the afternoon with some hot tea. If I can tell you, these are really great especially with a good dollop of mascarpone cream and the fresh frutti di bosco or berries on top. The cinnamon gives the taste buds an exciting touch too, so don't forget it! Shaping the bread to circles stacked up on each other gives the impression that they are pancakes. Enjoy!

Enjoy your Sunday brunches with a new kind of French toast! 

Pain Perdu (French Toast) With Mascarpone Cream and Berries


Serves 2

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 vanilla pod or vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or rum
  • 8 slices of sandwich bread (sliced with a round food shaper) 
  • knob of butter for the saucepan
  • fresh berries of your choice
  • icing sugar for sprinkling (optional)

  1. Make the mascarpone cream first. Refer to the recipe below.  
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, milk, cinnamon, vanilla & brandy until the mixture becomes creamy. 
  3. Soak the bread slices completely in the mixture.  
  4. In a saucepan, melt a knob of butter over medium heat. Brown both sides of the bread quickly, without burning. 
  5. While still warm, serve the pain perdu with mascarpone cream and fresh berries. Sprinkle the french toast with icing sugar or more cinnamon. 

Mascarpone Cream:

  • 100 grams mascarpone
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy

  1. Mix all the ingredients in an electric blender.
  2. Refrigerate it until ready to serve.