Friday, May 10, 2013

FFWD ~ Coupetade-French-Toast Pudding

Coupetade…French Toast Pudding
This weeks recipe took me back many years, to the summer we hosted a French Exchange student.  His name was Stefan, and he was with us for the entire summer.  I had asked for a girl, because my daughter was a sophomore in high school at the time.  There were more boys than girls that summer, and we were asked if we would consider hosting a boy. Why not?
We picked Stefan up at a predetermined facility on the New Jersey Turnpike.  He was an awkwardly handsome young man of 15, whose formal english was quite good, however being bombarded with fast talking Americans, was something that was probably overwhelming and difficult for him.  Initially Stefan was quite stoic, nothing like the loud family he was spending the summer with. Eventually he began to relax and enjoy our family. We were determined to give him a taste of American life, hoping in the end he would look back at his American summer with fond memories.

That summer was filled with many fun things.  Every weekend we would find something very American to do.  Trips to NYC, lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (where he told me French parents would never want to eat), the Statue of Liberty, a Rodeo, a Fourth of July fireworks show complete with a Doo Wop group singing wonderful 50’s and 60’s music. And what’s more american than a baseball game at Yankee Stadium.  We ate lots of Pizza, and had many barbecues where hamburgers were a huge hit!  During this time, two of my daughters friends from Long Island were also visiting with us for a few weeks.  My house was wonderfully chaotic, filled with plenty of laughter and loud music! They all entertained each other and, by the end of his visit, he had really loosened up and bonded with us.
All too soon, the time  came when he would be going back to France.  Stefan asked if he could make a French treat for us.  He came prepared with a hand written recipe from his mother. The recipe was for Cherry Clafoutis.  It was the first time I had ever had this wonderful custardy dessert.  He told us that in France, they would eat this dish as a light supper.
We were all sad to see the summer come to an end, and say au revoir to Stefan.  We corresponded for awhile and then lost track of each other.  I often wonder about him, and if he ever thinks of his American summer. 

So back to French Fridays!  Although this recipe was for a French Toast pudding, it was the custard that brought back memories of the our summer with Stefan and his Clafoutis. This was an easy, delicious recipe. Bread pudding is a favorite, in our house, for dessert. This just seemed more like a breakfast casserole.  The next time I make it, I would probably choose to serve it for brunch or breakfast as opposed to dessert.
The recipe called for sliced brioche or challah.  You then make an egg batter with eggs, sugar and milk.  Dip each piece of bread into the batter and fry as for french toast.  Cut each slice of bread into triangles and line a 13 x 9 inch pan.  I made only half the recipe, so I used a 9 inch square pan.

You then make a custard using more eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar, pour over the bread. Place the pan in the larger pan of water (called a bain marie) so that the custard cooks slowly, then bake.  Mine was done in an hour.
I love custard!! And I love the French for coming up with so many wonderful ways to eat it!  This was a luscious dish, and if I were serving brunch for Mother’s Day, it would be on my menu. Another keeper for the month of May!! Happy Friday everyone!! And Happy Mother’s Day!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table” or here.  Check out what other Dorista’s are up to here.

Dipping the bread in the egg batter

Frying the french toast
Bread layered in the dish
Added fruit…I used apricots and cranberries
Custard to be poured over the french toast
Baking dish placed in the bain marie 
Perfectly luscious just out of the oven
 Bon Appétit 


  1. As you must know by now I can't eat a single meal without some memory or story popping in. Thank you so much for sharing yours and your guest to gave you a culinary gift from home. And isn't that just so elegantly French of his mother to prepare him for just such a thing? Really lovely. I'm going to make sure my baby niece has a few things at the ready by the time she is old enough to stay as the guests of others. While I was in highschool we had both a Mexican and French exchange student stay with us. One was truly TRULY horrible and the French one is someone who is still in our lives today. He cooked for us too!

  2. Tiene que estar DELICIOSO!! Un postre que se merece un 10!!
    Un abrazo muy fuerte!

  3. well yours just looks amazing with all that fruit on it! Did you keep the clatoufis recipe??? I bet he thinks about you guys every once in awhile! I had a few foreign roomies in college and they would always come home with me for Thanksgiving and Xmas and we would think about them from time to time and send emails, often unanswered - but hey, we are still thinking of them! :)

  4. I agree lovely story about the exchange student. Could you image a typical American boy pulling out a recipe from his mom and making it for a family. I love the food confidence that this country instills. Your Coupetade has a lovely consistency. It must have been your bread and the time you soaked it... really wonderful.

  5. What a great story! sounds like Stefan had a wonderful summer with your family. The french toast pudding looks SOOOOOOOOO delicious!
    Mary x

  6. I love your story, Kathy! And I know Stefan had the time of his life! Your coupetade looks perfect...and, yup, we ate it for breakfast.

  7. We never had exchange students at our home, although we had a German one at school for a while who had a surname that I found amusing at the time - Kohl (meaning "cabbage"). Sounds like you had a lovely summer with Stefan. Your pudding looks just lovely - I like the sneaky custard layer at the base.

  8. What a lovely story! Reminds me of the time when I was a student myself in France, where one time I had to cook an Indonesian dinner for my then boyfriend's family. Was nerve-wracking. Luckily they loved it.
    Your coupétade just looks gorgeous! Mine was definitely missing that streak of red berries.

  9. I bet he thinks fondly of his American summer - he was so lucky to land a placement with your family! Your coupétade looks absolutely perfect.

  10. Wow having an exchange student sounds like so much fun :D
    and this french toast pudding looks stunning, such a classy twist!


  11. Coupetade...what a sophisticated name for a bread pudding! It looks very delicious.

  12. What a wonderful story. I spent time in France as an exchange student and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Sounds like to helped create just such an experience for your exchange student and I'm sure that he still thinks back fondly on his time with your family. And how sweet that he brought a recipe to share with you.

  13. I loved your fond memories of your foreign-exchange student summer, Kathy. What was that, 20 years ago???, pretty daring to welcome a "boy" into your home when you had a sopohomore girl. We wouldn't think a thing about it now but, then, just a little out-of-the norm. All the effort on his behalf was probably wonderful (but, exhausting, for you and your husband. But, ahhhh, aren't those the memories worth preserving. Thank you for sharing. One of the many reasons I began my Blog was so I could write down all these anecdotes, tales, stories, family history, etc., so my grandchildren, in time, will be able to see what my (and their Mother's) Life was really about through my words and pictures. In this digital world, I don't know how they will keep those memories alive but I'd doing my best to preserve memories "their" way......digitally. I was thrilled to see that your Coupétade looked very much like mine. Which I consider a compliment to Me - if I can even get close to my food looking like many of you other Doristas' food, I am a happy colleague.

    1. Mary, My daughter was the French student and the reason we took an exchange student for the summer…but I also had a seventeen year old son still at home. So, it really wasn’t too crazy to bring a boy into the house. My son was always around and included Stefan many times when he was with his friends. Not so avant garde!

  14. This recipe has me wondering whether the French make French toast... I enjoyed your story of the exchange student. I'm sure he remembers his summer fondly. Sounds like a fun household. Your coupetade looks wonderful, though I'm on the opposite than you when it comes to how to serve it. It was a not-too-sweet dessert but would have been a too-sweet breakfast for me. Have a great weekend!

  15. I am sure if I had ever spent a summer like that I would think about that family at least weekly :-)

  16. I agree with Cher :) I am sure he thinks of you and bet he speaks of his "summer in the US" on many an occasion. At least every time he makes the Clafoutis. I really enjoyed that story and am so glad you shared it. And yes, your recipe turned out delightful as well. I wish I had done like you and layered my french toast a bit more flat. Mine ended up with the tops halves exposed and they got suntanned, but the crispy contrast was still good. Your photos are lovely and have my mouth watering for more....

  17. How nice that Stefan made you a Clafoutis, that's one of my favorite treat. At the same time, your French Toast Pudding sounds just as decadent. :) Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.

  18. That looks very, very yummy. And your exchange student story brings another one to mind, the summer I lived with a French family in France. I remember it with such fondness, and even though we haven't been in touch in years, I still think about them. I had fun baking North American recipes for the family!

  19. What wonderful memories! We do "breakfast for dinner" sometimes and this would be a great candidate for that!

  20. What an exciting summer for both you and your Foreign Excahnge Student. Your Coupetade - french toast pudding looks delicious.

  21. Kathy, what a coincidence...we also hosted a French exchange female student, but for only 3 weeks, a long time ago, when my daughter was also a sophomore in high school. She was studying French at the time; ours was not a very good experience with the young lady. She went back, and we never heard from her again...and neither from the parents...before she arrived, during, or after! To me it seemed very awkward, and strange (rude) is more the correct statement. We really didn't have to take her anywhere because she had everything planned with her exchange group here in the states.

    Love your super amazing and delicious French toast/pudding incredibly inviting, especially for Mother's Day!
    Hope you enjoyed your special day with your beautiful family! xo

  22. Oh YES! Kathy you made one of my favourites.

  23. What a neat experience that must have been! I still remember the foreign exchange students that studied with us in high school. It was so enriching to have them there! And this french toast pudding looks DIVINE. Thank you for sharing it!

  24. Hi, Kathy! I enjoyed reading about your memories of Stefan so much. I am sure he had a wonderful summer with you and your family and looks back at that time with fond memories to this day. Your coupetade looks marvelous. I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day! XO