Darjeeling Tea Pain Perdu with Condensed MilkĀ Butter

February 11, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Way back in 1978, my mother took my brother and me on an enormous adventure. We spent the summer months on a commune in Pune, India. Not to go too far into our family dynamics, but suffice it to say that my brother (5 yrs old) and I (8 yrs old) learned a lot about being independent while we explored our new world. We both developed a taste for mango ice cream, naan, and grilled corn but our days almost always began with thick sliced toast that I grilled for us on a Franklin stove located on the veranda and a mug of very strong tea (made from water boiled on that same stove), both of which we would generously lace with sweetened condensed milk. Thus fortified, we would head out to the Ashram to see what trouble we could avoid getting ourselves into. To this whenever I think of India, I can taste the slightly burned edges of toast and sweet, sticky condensed milk. I can feel the edge of a tin cup filled with sweet sweet fragrant milky tea. So I came up with this recipe. It mirrors the tastes and smells of those early mornings, just me and my brother getting ourselves ready to face the day's adventures. To read a bit more about our adventures, click here: —Aliwaks

Test Kitchen Notes

This is very delicious French toast. The tea flavor was mild but noticeable, the sugar crisped up nicely while frying, and I liked the condensed milk butter very much -- I will definitely be making it again for other treats. The substantial soak time gives each slice that soft, custardy texture without any mushiness. Next time, I'll cut the sugar a bit and add some extra tea into the condensed milk butter. This makes the perfect decadent weekend breakfast. —Omeletta

  • Prep time 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • For the condensed milk butter
  • 4 ounces sweet (unsalted) butter, softened
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons flaky salt
  • For the Darjeeling tea pain perdu
  • 4 1-inch thick slices day old brioche
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 bags Darjeeling tea, or 4 tablespoons tea leaves
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
In This Recipe
  1. For the condensed milk butter
  2. Beat butter and sugar with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a standing mixer on high, until creamy and light.
  3. With mixer running, slowly pour in condensed milk to incorporate.
  4. Turn off mixer and fold in salt.
  5. The butter will keep for a few days in the fridge.
  1. For the Darjeeling tea pain perdu
  2. Combine cream, vanilla bean, tea, and honey in a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and let simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit at least 1 hour. Strain and cool. (You can do this a day ahead.)
  4. Whisk eggs with salt. Whisk cooled cream into eggs slowly.
  5. Dip bread into cream/egg mixture and set in baking dish, letting everything soak in well.
  6. Pour remaining cream/egg mixture over top and let sit for at least an hour or refrigerate overnight.
  7. Heat butter in a saute pan over medium high heat.
  8. Sprinkle bread with raw sugar. Fry first on the non-sugared side, then flip, making sure to cook all the way through.
  9. Serve warm with a healthy dollop of condensed milk butter.

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