Darjeeling Tea Pain Perdu with Condensed MilkĀ Butter

February 11, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • alienor
  • Aliwaks
  • foxeslovelemons
  • creamtea
  • Midge

12 Reviews

Matt L. July 15, 2014
I love pain perdu - though must admit I cook it slightly differently to make sure you get the crunch on the outside and the soft melting inside. Tea flavour is an interesting twist - I love it with lemon custard served like eggs and soldiers -
RonnieG March 11, 2013
Too high in fat yo enjoy!
alienor March 10, 2013
killer french toast is right! who would even on a splurge use one and 1/2 cups of heavy cream for two people for breakfast. i woul ave to starve myself for the rest of the day. this is much too indulgent...
Aliwaks March 10, 2013
Save it for dessert ... To share like bread pudding! Also you can sub part of the cream for milk, whole, skim... Even could try using all hazelnut, coconut or almond milk.
ustabahippie March 10, 2013
Oh the 1970's were a wonderful era! I'm going to try this recipe soon!
corcooks44 March 10, 2013
This recipe really caught my eye this morning; not only do I love the inspiration behind the recipe, but the actual aspects of the recipe itself. The custard. The sugar. I can't wait to try this at home. Thank you for sharing.
Aliwaks March 8, 2013
THANK YOU for CP!!!!!
Musebe March 7, 2013
I love the inspiration behind this recipe.
Is it necessary to use clarified butter or ghee, I have neither in my pantry?
Aliwaks March 8, 2013
Thank you, it was a wild time.
You can use regular butter, just watch it carefully, it burns easier (esp w the sugar side) (btw easy to clarify butter and it keeps well in the fridge, great to have on hand)
foxeslovelemons March 7, 2013
Congrats on the CP! While I'm not normally a huge french toast fan (bad childhood experiences with terrible versions of it, probably), but I may have to try this recipe and see if my tastes have changed.
creamtea February 15, 2013
"we would head out to the Ashram to see what trouble we could avoid getting ourselves into". I love this anecdote :) And the recipe!
Midge February 14, 2013
What an amazing experience and memory. And killer-sounding French toast.