Chef Douglas Rankin of Bar Restaurant Adds a Cheesy Spin to Pain Perdu

By Kendyl Kearly | Jaclyn Warren


Kendyl Kearly
Jaclyn Warren
Chef Douglas Rankin of Bar Restaurant
Chef Douglas Rankin of Bar Restaurant

L.A. diners might think they know what they’re going to get at Bar Restaurant: a lively garden ambiance, a lengthy wine list, an aesthetically pleasing octopus that curls around pumpkin seed mojo. But after those pleasures, the desserts bring such an unexpected thunder that no one would know that there isn’t a pastry chef in the kitchen. Developed by Chef Douglas Rankin with Pastry Consultant and Rising Stars alum Gregory Baumgartner, the apple pain perdu, for one, is brimming with apple and brie flavor. Here, we break it down.


The Bread

The texture of this pain perdu goes well beyond what the typical French toast. It’s more like a fluffy, brûléed pancake that resists sogginess. Brioche is the base; Rankin emulsifies the butter in three stages until the dough is glossy and aerated. After baking, the bread is soaked in apple anglais (made with a caramel-like reduction of fresh Fuji apple juice). But the secret is a thin layer of sugar dough placed overtop before the second bake. This ensures that the surface still gets a brûlée char at the end, despite the gooey anglaise permeating the brioche.


The Brie Sabayon

If one element propels this dish into superstardom status, the thick but silky brie sabayon is it. Surrounding the pain perdu like a moat, the sabayon is a mix of rindless brie, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla paste, and cream cheese. It counterbalances the apple, and the mouth feel completely lives up to brie’s tangy, creamy promise. A little sugar on top allows the sauce to be brûléed as well.


The Apple Sorbet

The Black Arkansas apple is small, dark in color, and tart with sweet notes resembling cherry. In a sorbet, they lend acid to this decadent confection, and it’s hard to imagine where the pain perdu would be without them. Though easier to source, the Fujis that go into the anglaise would pale in the overall balance of flavours. Instead, Fuji apple peels do make a reappearance in the form of a dehydrated apple powder garnish.

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