When the acclaimed chocolatier William Curley visited our restaurant Poco, in Bristol, we created a chocolate feast that included a pain perdu to use up our stale bread and served with lashings of chocolate sauce. We serve wholemeal sourdough at Poco, , and its malty nature works surprisingly well with chocolate. I’ve given the chocolate custard extra punch with the addition of a teaspoon of spent coffee grounds, which are a surprisingly useful byproduct that’s full of aroma, flavour and caffeine; I like to sneak them into recipes whenever I can.
Pain perdu with chocolate and coffee
In a country where bread is served with almost every meal, wholemeal bread is a taste that’s well worth acquiring, not least because it is filling, flavourful and bursting with nutrition. 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.
100ml whole milk
160ml double cream
2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or unrefined sugar
1 tsp spent coffee grounds
100g dark chocolate
2 eggs, lightly beaten
25ml rum, brandy or whisky
6 thick slices wholemeal sourdough
1 tbsp butter
Pour the milk and half the cream into a small saucepan , stir in the maple syrup, honey or unrefined sugar and the coffee grounds, bring to a gentle simmer, then take off the heat.
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 gently until the chocolate melts and is combined with the cream, then stir in the beaten eggs and the rum, brandy or whisky.
Arrange the slices of bread in a tray, pour the chocolate mixture all over the top and leave to soak in for a few minutes; you may have more custard than you need, so save the rest 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.