ffwd – coupetade (french toast pudding)

I’ve looked at this recipe several times in the past and always thought “really? you make French toast and then make that into bread pudding?”. I happen to love French toast (and have been making Smitten Kitchen’s Cinnamon Toast French Toast lately). I also really like bread pudding and often make Paul Prudhomme’s version out of his amazing cookbook Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. So I thought this would be interesting to try.

Again, we used challah for the base along with sugar, eggs, a little butter, milk, vanilla, and we were supposed to use dried fruit (as you can see, I was planning on using dried cherries – we’ll get to that).

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There is a first mixture made for the original French toast. This is really just eggs, sugar (kind of a lot) and a bit of milk. The bread is sliced, then soaked in the mixture. I added some cinnamon, because, well, I like cinnamon – a lot.

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The slices get browned in butter, then placed into a prepared baking dish.

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Another mixture of eggs, even more sugar, milk and vanilla is mixed together and poured over the top. It’s allowed to rest for about 10 minutes, then placed in a larger pan with a water bath, then baked for about 1-1/2 hours or so. As you can see, I managed to completely forget about my cherries, so this probably isn’t as traditional without the fruit.

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What didn’t make sense to me was how bread, already soaked in eggs and milk would be able to soak up any more egg-and-milk mixture. Maybe it was my expectations that were wrong, but the result ended up about as anticipated – a (fairly large) layer of custard alone with the toast rising to the top.

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What this meant was that there was weeping. Not mine, but the custard’s. That was ok, but just not as anticipated. I have to admit that I tried it when I first made it (warm) and was underwhelmed. Since I’m leaving town today for my niece/goddaughter’s university graduation, this was a time to share. I ended up taking this to work, and getting some testers. That also meant that I was “honor-bound” 🙂 to try it again cold.

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I have to say, the reviews were pretty good. One friend, who is much more knowledgeable than I, actually knew that the dish was really supposed to turn out that way! (go figure, thank goodness for friends!) Another actually made the trek to my desk to thank me – and I’m not very easy to find these days.

I have to say, that when it was cold, I liked the contrast of the crispy edges of the toast and the creamy custard. But, that said, it was really too sweet for breakfast/brunch, and not really something I would choose for dessert. Maybe just too sweet in general. Perhaps some fresh berries would have lightened it up a little. I’m sure that the dried cherries that I’d planned would have been good and added a bit of tartness.

I’m not sure that I’m a convert, but this was fun to make. If you’d like to see how others fared with this recipe, stop by and check them out at French Fridays with Dorie. Happy weekend!

12 thoughts on “ffwd – coupetade (french toast pudding)

  1. Coupetade is what happens when French Toast meets Flan and falls madly in love. Tasting it for the first time you experience the custard’s warm flavor and richness but that flavor is supported by the firm texture of the bread. The bits of crust have a slight crispiness which brings a nice contrast. The coupetade is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I look forward to serving this on my Mother’s Day brunch table with a bit of French-style scrambled eggs, a few thick slices of crisp bacon and a medley of chilled fresh berries.

  2. I’m definitely not a convert. I have other baked French toast recipes I like better, and a bread pudding recipe that can’t be beat. It was worth making, if only for the experience.

  3. Really? Its supposed to turn out that way? Mine ended up kind of the same and I had the exact same thoughts and reactions here. Last night warm I didn’t like it. I even said this AM that it didn’t turn out and nobody had to eat it. Yet everyone loved it when cold. And the exposed bread part re-softened and was caramel-like despite its darker color. I didn’t share my thoughts because the praise was deafening. So so so happy to hear this is what it is supposed to look like!

  4. I think in the long run, if you are using up some bread to make french toast with and have a bunch leftover, this is easily a dish I would make but for bread pudding, I would rather use something else, although the french toast end of it was pretty darn tasty! 🙂

  5. I think the origin and true way this dish should be made is… One make French Toast for breakfast and there are leftovers. Oh, what to do with the leftovers? Well, gee I have some French toast custard leftover too. Mix them together and bake them= coupetade.

  6. I enjoyed this, but I think I’d save it for a big, potluck brunch rather than make it for breakfast or dessert.

  7. YES! I had exactly the same expectations. I even let mine soak for much longer than the recommended 10 minutes in the hopes that more of the custard would soak into the bread. But it still did not come together as nicely as my usual bread pudding recipe. Hubby loved it but I was annoyed.

  8. Yep, I had floaters too (even after weighing the bread down while it was soaking). But it all tasted good in the end, so I was happy.

  9. I didn’t try this cold, so I wonder how that would be. I did like it warm though. And, the tart cherries work nicely. Hope that graduation goes well. Congrats to your niece.

  10. Hi Candy, I am just catching up and read last week’s AND this weeks. First off, so so so sorry to hear about your Dad. You have had quite a Spring. One of the things I love about this group is that we take time off as needed and everyone understands. No pressure no hype, as the ads say 🙂 And it is very therapeutic to get both back into the kitchen and back into the routine, or at least I have found that to be the case for me. And of course, it is wonderful to try a yummy new recipe. We enjoyed this but more than anything it inspired me to offer french toast more often in the morning- and to use Challah. It looked phenomenal just at that first stage but this is what bread, butter and sugar do 🙂

  11. When French toast is served as a sweet dish, milk, sugar, vanilla or cinnamon are also commonly added before pan-frying, and then it may be topped with sugar (often powdered sugar), butter, fruit, syrup, or other items. When it is a savory dish, it is generally fried with a pinch of salt, and can then be served with a sauce such as ketchup or mayonnaise .

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