Mexican Bread Pudding

Capirotada

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • 8 to 10

    Servings

Appears in

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Muy Bueno

By Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Published 2013

  • About

Say the word capirotada to a Mexican and it conjures up all sorts of childhood memories. The aroma created by the ingredients in the sauce are quite unique because of the piloncillo, a pure, unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. Piloncillo tastes very similar to brown sugar with a more smoky molasses flavor. The smell of the piloncillo and spices simmering on Mom’s stove lingered in her kitchen for hours. As a kid we always ate capirotada during Lent, but I know of families who eat it during Thanksgiving, Navidad, and Las Posadas.

The ingredients in this recipe carry a rich and symbolic religious representation for some Mexican and Mexican-American families. The bread is for the Body of Christ, the syrup is his blood, the cloves are the nails on the cross, the cinnamon sticks symbolize the wooden cross, and the melted cheese stands for the Holy Shroud. Hence why this is eaten during the Lenten season.

As great as capirotada smells fresh out of the oven, my favorite time to eat it is about two days after it’s made. Sometimes I like eating it cold, straight out of the pan. The tanginess of the cheese, the sweetness of the piloncillo, and the added spices make this a postre (dessert) worth trying.

Ingredients

  • 4 bolillo rolls or French rolls
  • 4 tablespoons butter or spray butter
  • cups water
  • 12 ounces piloncillo or cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 cups shredded Longhorn Cheddar or Colby cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut rolls into ½-inch slices and butter both sides of each slice. Layer on a baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes on each side, until lightly toasted and dry. Remove and cool.

Combine water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, creating a syrup. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours. Pour through a strainer and discard cinnamon sticks and cloves. Set syrup aside.

Spray an 8-inch x 10½-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer the ingredients in the following order: a third of the toasted bread, a third of the raisins, a third of the cheese, and then pour 1½ cups syrup evenly over cheese. Wait 15 minutes and then layer another third of the bread, raisins, and cheese, and pour another 1½ cups syrup evenly over cheese.

Let soak for another 15 minutes. Top with the remaining bread, raisins, and cheese, and pour remaining syrup evenly over bread. Let set for another 15 minutes.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve warm.