prune and armagnac pain perdu

serves 4

4 x 1in thick slices of milk bread or firm brioche
3 eggs
350ml milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
2 tbsp caster sugar, plus a bit extra
Vegetable oil
1 tsp butter
50ml armagnac
300ml rich custard (see below)
12 Agen prunes in Armagnac, stones removed

1 Remove the crusts from the bread and place in a shallow dish. Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and 2 tbsp caster sugar together and pour over the bread. Soak for 10-20 minutes, turning occasionally. Take care not to oversoak the bread or it will disintegrate. Remove and allow any excess egg to drain.

2 Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add a splash of oil and the butter. When it is foaming, fry the bread gently for 10 minutes, turning every few minutes.

3 Scatter some caster sugar on a plate. Carefully lift each piece of bread from the pan and dip the nicest looking side in the sugar. Return to the pan, sugared side down. Cook for a further minute or until the sugar has coloured slightly. Lift the bread from the pan and rest on absorbent paper.

4 Whisk the armagnac into the custard and spoon into four shallow plates. Place one piece of bread on each plate and top with three prunes. If you have the prunes’ soaking liquid to hand, spoon some over the prunes. Serve with rich custard and a glass of good armagnac.

rich custard
300ml double cream
A couple of drops of vanilla extract
3 medium egg yolks
30g caster sugar

1 Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the vanilla extract. Heat gently.

2 Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Pour the warm cream onto the egg yolks while beating. Return the mixture to the pan and cook until boiling. Strain and cool.