Spiced bread with caramel banana

Get fancy for breakfast with French toast, but not as you know it: Spiced bread and caramel banana.
Get fancy for breakfast with French toast, but not as you know it: Spiced bread and caramel banana. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Pain perdu, which means lost bread in French, refers to stale bread that is brought back to life by dipping it into a mixture of milk and beaten eggs, then fried quickly in butter and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I love the delicious caramelised bananas in this recipe. Spiced bread, also known as pain epice, has such an amazing aroma that when you pull it from the oven it it is unlikely much of the loaf will go stale. The caramel is the finishing touch that makes this breakfast dish such a memorable start to the day.


250ml milk

500g honey

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

150g candied peel

200g rye flour, sifted

300g plain flour, sifted

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground anise

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground coriander

100g castor sugar

60g ground almonds

100g plain sugar

200ml thickened cream

2 eggs, beaten

6 tbsp butter

6 bananas



Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 28-cm by 12-cm loaf tin with baking paper. Put the milk and honey in a small saucepan and warm gently over low heat until lukewarm. Whisk egg yolks with the lemon zest in a large mixing bowl, then pour in the warm milk and honey, whisking all the while.

Stir through the candied peel. Add flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, castor sugar and almonds to the bowl and mix until smooth. Transfer to the prepared loaf tin and bake for one hour. To check if it is done, pierce with a skewer or small knife - it should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Place plain sugar in a small heavy-based saucepan, add 50 millilitres of water and cook on high heat until mixture turns a golden caramel colour. Add the cream - be careful, as it will spit as it comes in contact with the sugar. Set caramel aside for later. Cut six two-centimetre-thick slices from the loaf and keep the rest of the loaf for later. Put beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, dip a slice of bread into it and let it soak for a minute.

Heat a frypan and add one tablespoon of butter. Fry the bread slice for one minute on a medium heat, then turn it over and add a banana, cut in half lengthways, to the pan. When the banana is caramelised on one side, turn it over and cook for another 20 seconds. Remove banana and bread from the pan, slice bread in half and place on a plate, top with the banana and drizzle some caramel sauce over the top. Repeat for the other five slices.

Tip: You can also use brioche, white bread or even stale croissants for French toast.