French toast with vanilla and raspberry compote

Karen Burns-Booth dishes up a magnificent breakfast – French toast with a vanilla raspberry compote.

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French Toast comes in many guises, and is also known as “Eggy Bread”, “Gypsy Toast”, “Omelette Bread”, “Pain Perdu”, “Poor Knights of Windsor” as well as “Pain Doré”; they are all one and the same in so far as bread, usually stale, is soaked in an egg and milk mixture (sometimes with alcohol added, as in Poor Knights of Windsor) which is then fried until puffed up and a crisp golden brown. The “toast” is then served with jam, fruit, honey or maple syrup for a sweet and indulgent breakfast.

Other variations are “Egg in a Basket” and “Eggs in a Nest”, which is a classic WW2 recipe, where one egg serves more than one person to make the most of wartime egg rationing. Whatever the name or recipe, if you have eggs (as well as bread) and are tired of the usual way eggs are served, then this is the recipe for you. If cooking for a crowd, fry the bread in batches and keep them warm in a hot oven wrapped in foil to stop them drying out, and you have the makings of a very special breakfast or brunch for friends and family.

I hope you all enjoy British Egg Week, and do try this simple recipe if you fancy your eggs a different way…….you can make the egg and milk “batter” up the night before, as well as the raspberry compote, which will cut back on time the next morning. If jam is your favourite accompaniment, then there is a lovely Raspberry and Vanilla Jam on Great British Chefs that would also be a fabulous way to serve this French Toast.




  • 8 slices of bread, of your choice - stale bread is best
  • unsalted butter, for frying
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 150ml of whole milk
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 250g of raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of raspberry jam
  • vanilla sugar, to serve


To make the raspberry compote, put the raspberries, caster sugar, vanilla extract and raspberry jam into a saucepan and heat gently over a low heat until the raspberries have released their juices but are still whole. Set to one side to cool slightly
To make the French toast, beat the eggs, milk and sugar together and pour it into a shallow bowl
Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan or on a large griddle. Dip the bread into the egg and milk mixture, for about 20 to 30 seconds on both sides and then fry it immediately in the hot butter
Cook until golden brown on both sides and then serve straight away with the vanilla raspberry compote and a sprinkling of vanilla sugar. I find it best to cut the bread into triangles to serve, as it looks more attractive
If cooking for a crowd, fry the bread in batches and keep them warm in a hot oven, wrapped in foil to stop them drying out

Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a passion for local, seasonal ingredients.

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