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Believe it or not, French toast isn’t an American invention, and despite its name, it’s not even a French invention either! The earliest known reference to a dish similar to what we consider French toast was found in a Latin recipe dating back to the 4th or 5th century BCE. The simple formula, bread dipped in a mixture of eggs and milk and fried, has proven itself to be timeless, and universal too -- every country seems to have its unique take on this brunch staple.

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French toast, French style

In France, French toast is actually called pain perdu, which translates to “lost bread” because it’s a great way to use up a loaf that is on the verge of going stale in a very tasty way.

  • Completely cover a single layer of thick slices of day-old crusty French bread (such as Bâtard or Pain de Campagne) in a custard of beaten eggs, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and Armagnac liqueur, and let it soak in the fridge, covered, for at least a day
  • Dust the soaked bread in a mixture of one tablespoon flour and one tablespoon sugar evenly on both sides
  • Fry on both sides in lots of butter until crisp and golden

As the French say, bon appetit!

Pain perdu grandriver / Getty Images
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French toast, Mexican style

Why not break tradition and take your brunch south of the border with French toast tortillas?

  • Cut flour tortillas into quarters, then dunk them in a mixture of eggs beaten with a splash of milk, a sprinkle of granulated sugar and cinnamon, and pure vanilla extract
  • Fry on both sides in butter until crisp and golden
  • Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and sliced ripe strawberries, if you desire

As the Mexicans say, ¡Buen apetito!

Tortilla Kichigin / Getty Images
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French toast, Hong Kong style

When the Chinese think of French toast, they think of butter. Lots and lots of butter.

  • Soak bread in beaten eggs
  • Fry on both sides in many cubes of melted butter until crisp and golden
  • Top with even more butter, and serve with a drizzle of golden syrup or condensed milk

As they say in Cantonese, sihk faahn!

Hong Kong style french toast g01xm / Getty Images
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French toast, Dutch style

In Holland, French toast is known as wentelteefjes, a word which can also be used as an insult. It translates to “turn over, you little dog!” For a recipe with such an over-the-top name, it’s surprisingly simple to make.

  • Soak day-old slices of bread in eggs beaten with milk
  • Fry on both sides in butter until crisp and golden
  • Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon

As the Dutch say, Smakelijk eten!

Wentelteefjes drisley77 / Getty Images
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French toast, Italian style

When Italians think of French toast, they think of a scrumptious sandwich.

  • Take thick slices of day-old Italian bread (like panettone or ciabatta) and dip them in a mixture of beaten eggs, cinnamon, cream, a pinch of baking powder, vanilla and grated orange peel, and let soak.
  • Fry on both sides in lots of butter until crisp and golden
  • Top with honey, fresh ricotta cheese, mascarpone, or jam, then another slice of French toast, and serve as a sandwich

As the Italians say, Buon appetito!

Italian style French toast Foxys_forest_manufacture / Getty Images
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French toast, Moroccan style

In sultry Morocco, French toast is a spicy, cinnamony affair made with flatbread, such as pita, stuffed with nuts and dates.

  • Pack a mixture of chopped up dates and walnuts or almonds into pita halves, and cut into triangles
  • Dip stuffed pita bread triangles in an egg beaten with milk, cinnamon, sugar, and salt until soaked on both sides
  • Fry on both sides in butter until crisp and golden
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle with honey

As the Moroccans say, Besseha!

Moroccan pita bread Bartosz Luczak / Getty Images
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French toast, Canadian style

Golden bread, or pain dore, is the Canadian take on French toast. It gets its name from the rich color the bread gets from soaking in syrupy goodness.

  • Dip thick slices of a substantial bread, such as country loaf, in a custard of eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and cinnamon until soaked through
  • Fry on both sides in butter until crisp and golden
  • Serve with a generous pouring of real Canadian 100% maple syrup

As the Canadians say, Enjoy, eh?

Pain dore nicolesy / Getty Images
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French toast, Brazilian style

The Brazilians serve their version of French toast, called rabanadas, as a dessert at Christmas.

  • Soak thick slices of French bread in a mixture of beaten eggs and plenty of milk
  • Fry on both sides in butter until crisp and golden, then rest the slices on paper towels
  • Dip the warm rabanadas in a bowl filled with cinnamon sugar until evenly coated, and serve immediately

As the Brazilians say, Bom apetite!

Rabanadas CarlaNichiata / Getty Images
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French toast, Spanish style

Spain’s decidedly devout answer to French toast, called Torrijas, are usually eaten around Easter, during Lent and Holy Week. Unlike most other French toast recipes, this one calls for olive oil instead of butter. Oh, and wine too!

  • Soak slices of stale baguette in wine, or milk, if you prefer that has been simmered with sugar, cardamom, and lemon peel
  • Dip the soaked bread in beaten egg
  • Fry on both sides in good Spanish olive oil until crisp and golden
  • Coat the torrijas in a cinnamon sugar mixture

As the Spanish say, ¡Buen provecho!

Torrijas etorres69 / Getty Images
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French toast, New Orleans style

In Louisiana Creole cuisine, they also call their French toast pain perdu just as they do in France, with one important distinction: booze.

  • Soak stale bread - the staler, the better - in a mixture of beaten eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, a sprinkle of sugar and salt, and a tablespoon of alcohol of your choice
  • Fry on both sides in butter until crisp and golden
  • Serve either with a dusting of powdered sugar, or cane syrup, fruit syrup, or a strongly flavored honey

As they say in New Orleans, bon appetit!

French toast in New Orleans LauriPatterson / Getty Images

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