ffwd: coupetade


This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is a dried-fruit-studded French toast bread pudding called coupetade. On many fronts, there was no way that Howard was going to try this one, so I didn’t even consider trying to adapt it to his tastes. The only concession I made was to halve the recipe.

I’m indifferent to French toast, but I adore bread pudding. This was a new take on it that I’d never seen. First of all, you don’t just start with stale bread. You first make French toast out of the stale bread. Some sugar is added to the milk and egg for extra caramelization. The best French toast is made with egg bread, like brioche or challah, and that was the recommended base here as well. I didn’t make my own bread, but bought a small loaf from a favorite local bakery. The recipe calls for cooking the French toast in a sea of butter, but after my recent greasy pancake experience, I opted to lightly coat my electric griddle with some butter and cook the French toast as I would for breakfast.

Making French Toast

The French toast is cut into smaller pieces and placed in a baking dish and garnished generously with dried fruit. My dried fruit wasn’t as moist or plump as it should have been, so I applied a tip that I’ve picked up over the years from the Dorista crew.

A bit of liquor can only improve things.

While the French toast cooked, I soaked dried apricots and dried cherries is some warm kirsch, both to plump up the fruit and to give the coupetade an extra kick.

A simple custard mixture of eggs, sugar, milk, and vanilla is poured over the bread and fruit and baked in a water bath for an hour.

Ready for the Oven

This dish can be served warm or cold. Traditionally, the French eat it cold, but I couldn’t wait and ate it warm.

I really enjoyed this. It is perfect comfort food! The creamy bread and custard contrasted nicely with the slightly tart and chewy fruit bits. You could use prunes, raisin, or dried cranberries, whatever happens to be on hand. Any non-savory bread would work too (I can’t quite imagine seeds in this one.) Even though I might be eating alone, I would definitely make this one again.

My sister Jane AND her family are huge bread pudding fans, so, Jane, make this one! You’ll love it.

We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To read about other interpretations of coupetade, check out the other French Fridays with Dorie bloggers’ posts here.


Posted on 10 May 2013, in Baking, Eggs, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. “A bit of liquor can only improve things.” = AMEN!

  2. Soaking the dried fruit in alcohol may have made some of my family more willing to try it…

  3. Betsy, this looks exactly how I thought this recipe would, so gorgeous with the toasted bread and the creamy custard! I didn´t make it on time, but I will add some booze like you did. Great idea!

  4. trevorsisboom

    Sometimes I’m so lazy. When I first read the recipe I thought of soaking the dried cherries in port or the apricots in cognac before making it but I was already on schedule for pulling this out of the oven at midnight last night. I’m glad you actually did it as I have the feeling that this step took it from ordinary to a step above. Looks great!

  5. yours looks fantastic! ;) I’m thinking nuts would be a nice addition next time :)

  6. I wish I liquored this up a bit… would have been much more exciting and I love brandied cherries… bummer.

  7. Some kirsch! Now there’s the spirit. I am on team dessert too – we don’t eat stuff like this for brekky in Oz.

  8. Yours look great! So this is how it’s supposed to look like!

  9. “A bit of liquor can only improve things.” This should be the Dorista motto. Well, along with butter, eggs, and cream are three of the food groups. Yours looks beautiful and the addition of the kirsch must have put this over the top.

  10. A bit of liquor can only improve things. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I spiked mine too with Grand Marnier and loved it.

  11. I halved this one too and still felt like I had enough to feed an army. Either Dorie’s portion sizes are insane or my calculations were off. I guess that either is possible.

  12. I can’t believe Bill ate something that Howard wouldn’t…guess it was bound to happen ;) Love that you soaked the dried fruit in Kirsch…yum!!!

  13. Betsy, I love that you added delicious dried apricots and cherries soaked in some warm kirsch – that sounds fabulous for this Coupétade and I have serious “griddle envy” as I do not have one but really want one!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  14. I think this recipe needed a little lift and Kirsch was a great option, Betsy. While I didn’t like this served as a cold dessert, I did think it was heavenly when served warm. I added some syrup. I only made half a recipe and, because it is so rich, it was just enough. Plus, this really is a dish that doesn’t “keep” well, don’t you think. Glad you enjoyed it (sorry, Howard did not).

  15. triciaandnana

    Ha – I was chuckling at your Dorista take away of liquor helping a recipe :) So true and I wish I had thought of that as well. I ended up layering my bread such that the tops were pretty exposed and the ended up crispy…though in fairness we enjoyed the contrast of crunchy and custardy. I loved your including the link to “Iggy’s”. I was curious the moment I saw your reference and couldn’t wait to see what your “favorite” local bread shop was. I hope to visit it the next time I make it up to your lovely area. My hubby brought our son back two days ago, as they needed all the room in the van for his STUFF, plus I was home with our younger son who is still in school. But boy would I have enjoyed a little Boston mini vacation – just LOVE that town. And in the spring- fabulous.It will be great in the fall too …….

  16. “A bit of liquor can only improve things.” This is why we are friends! Wish I had thought of that!

  17. Apricots and cherries soaked in kirsch…sounds totally yummy! This dish was really a hit in my house.

  18. Your pudding came out beautifully. I really like the kirsch idea!

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