Mexican Bread Pudding, “Capirotada” is a traditional and popular Lenten dessert that is usually served on Good Friday, but it can be served at any time, especially when you have some nice crusty bread that needs to be used, this dish brings me sweet warm memories of my grandmother and growing up in Mexico.
It has an interesting combination of fruits, nuts, spices, and cheese. Since meat was forbidden during Lent, the pudding may have grown in popularity as a way to get more protein into a meatless diet. In this dessert the one defining ingredient is the cheese! Remember, most Mexican desserts are not extremely sweet, but a delicious combination of both sweet and savory at the same time.
This recipe calls for “Piloncillo”
Piloncillo is an unrefined Mexican sugar that is made from cane sugar made from boiling and evaporating cane juice, you can get it at specialty stores or Mexican grocery stores.
4 Bolillos “Mexican white bread” or 1 24-inch loaf of French bread, cubed and toasted (about six cups) 24 oz. of Piloncillo OR 3 cups of brown sugar 3 cups of water 2 sticks of Mexican Cinnamon 5 cloves 1 cup of shredded Queso Fresco or Panela 1 cup of pecans, toasted and chopped 1/2 cup of raisins ½ cup of dried apricots, chopped
½ cup of prunes 1/4 cup of butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make a syrup by boiling the sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves together for 10 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened and reduced. In a greased large cast-iron skillet or an 8x8 cake pan, place half the bread and pour over it half the melted butter. Toss to coat. Drizzle about ¼ cup of the syrup over the bread and toss to coat. Layer on top of the bread the cheese, pecans, raisins and dried apricots and prunes. Place the rest of the bread on top, drizzle over the remaining butter and then pour over the rest of the syrup. Make sure that each piece of bread is properly coated in syrup. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for fifteen more minutes. Its best to eat it warm out of the oven.
Happy Easter, and Happy Cooking!
Chef Martin Lopez