One of the best things about any holiday or religious observation is the unique foods we share. For Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who observe Lent one of those foods is Capirotada a type of bread pudding served on Good Friday that differs from family to family as much as mole or tamales. It has symbolic meaning to the passion of Christ and is served as a reminder of His suffering.
Some families create this recipe in a more savory style while others add additional sweeteners such as various dried fruits and colaciones (sugar candies). My mother’s recipe which was also my grandmother’s is fairly simple and while I’ve tasted other capirotadas this is the one I prefer.
1 small Piloncillo (unrefined sugar produced in cone shapes)
3 Large Bolillos / Pan Frances (variation of french bread from Mexico)
1/2 of a Mexican Cinnamon Stick
3 Cloves (clavos de olor)
5 oz Panela Style Cheese
1 Cup Mild Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup Rasins
1/2 Cup Pecans
Cut up the bread and place on baking sheet. Toast it in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until light brown and toasted. While the bread is toasting boil 2 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cinnamon stick, and the 3 cloves. Once the water is boiling add the whole piloncillo (some people prefer to grate it but it is not necessary it will dissolve whole as well). Stir until dissolved and then turn the heat off.
In a deeper pan assemble the layers. Start with a little syrup (the liquid made up off the piloncillo, cinnamon, and cloves) then add bread and layer both cheeses, and the raisins. Add more syrup and use the back of a spoon to press the bread down to absorb the liquid. Create another layer of bread, panela cheese, mild cheddar cheese, and raisins.
Make sure you are straining the syrup when pouring it in to avoid any cloves or cinnamon bits from going into the layers. Continue to build layers soaking bread during each until you’ve used all your ingredients. If the syrup is not hot place the pan with layers over medium heat while creating the layers to endure the cheddar melts and all flavors meld. Once you are done building all the layers and the cheese is melted turn off the heat.
You can serve the Capirotada immediately or cover and keep warm to serve later. Add the pecans to each serving. If you are prepping ahead of time you can store in refrigerator and heat just before serving.
Did you have capirotada during lent? Let me know what you think if you try this super easy recipe. For us food has always been a connection to our roots so we try to incorporate traditional foods whenever possible. Special thanks to my mom for sharing her recipe and walking me through this simple process as well as for keeping our traditions alive and going from generation to generation.
What other traditional dishes do you enjoy during Lenten time? Please share!Pin It