When the renowned chocolatier William Curley dined at our restaurant Poco in Bristol, we prepared a chocolate feast consisting of a pain perdu made with stale bread and served with copious amounts of chocolate sauce. At Poco, we serve whole-grain sourdough, and its malty flavor pairs surprisingly well with chocolate. I’ve boosted the flavor of the chocolate custard by adding a teaspoon of spent coffee grounds, which are an unexpectedly useful byproduct rich in aroma, flavor, and caffeine; I like to sneak them into recipes whenever I can.
Pain perdu served with chocolate and espresso
In a country where bread is served with almost every meal, acquiring a taste for wholemeal bread is highly recommended, not least because it is filling, flavorful, and packed with nutrients. This dish works best with day-old and even stale bread, and works with any type of bread, really, including plain white, rye and even sourdough.
Advertisement Serves 6
100 ml total milk
160ml double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon used coffee grounds
100g dark chocolate
2 lightly beaten eggs
25ml of rum, whiskey, or brandy
Six thick slices of wholemeal sourdough bread
1 tablespoon butter
Pour the milk and half of the cream into a small saucepan. Stir in the coffee grounds, maple syrup, honey, or unrefined sugar, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Chop 80g of the chocolate, put it in a bowl, pour the hot cream mix over the top and leave to sit for a couple of minutes. Stir until the chocolate melts and is thoroughly combined with the cream, then stir in the beaten eggs and rum, brandy, or whisky.
Place the bread slices in a baking dish, pour the chocolate mixture over the top, and allow to soak for a few minutes; if you have extra custard, reserve it for serving.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat , then gently fry the soaked bread in batches for three minutes on each side, or until they start to form a crust.