Capirotada (Lenten bread pudding) is almost unknown outside Mexico. Although is popular all through Latin America (with different versions). Simple to prepare and absolutely delicious, it’s hard to eat it sparingly if you’re trying to keep a Lenten abstinence!
Every family makes a slightly different version of capirotada: a pinch more of this, leave out that, add such-and-such. Mexico Cooks! prefers to leave out the apricots and add dried pineapple. Make it once and then tweak the recipe to your preference–but please do stick with traditional ingredients.
- *4 bolillos, in 1″ slices (small loaves of dense white bread)
- 5 stale tortillas
- 150 grams pecans
- 50 grams prunes
- 100 grams raisins
- 200 grams peanuts
- 100 grams dried apricots
- 1 large apple, peeled and sliced thin
- 100 grams grated Cotija cheese
- Peel of one orange, two uses
- *3 cones piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar)
- Four 3″ pieces of Mexican stick cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- *If you don’t have bolillo, substitute slices of very dense French bread. If you don’t have piloncillo, substitute 1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar.
- A large metal or clay baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 300° F.
Toast the bread and spread with butter. Slightly overlap the tortillas in the bottom and along the sides of the baking dish to make a base for the capirotada. Prepare a thin syrup by boiling the piloncillo in 2 1/2 cups of water with a few shreds of cinnamon sticks, 2/3 of the orange peel, the cloves, and a pinch of salt.
Place the layers of bread rounds in the baking dish so as to allow for their expansion as the capirotada cooks. Lay down a layer of bread, then a layer of nuts, prunes, raisins, peanuts and apricots. Continue until all the bread is layered with the rest. For the final layer, sprinkle the capirotada with the grated Cotija cheese and the remaining third of the orange peel (grated). Add the syrup, moistening all the layers little by little. Reserve a portion of the syrup to add to the capirotada in case it becomes dry during baking.
Bake uncovered until the capirotada is golden brown and the syrup is absorbed. The bread will expand as it absorbs the syrup. Remember to add the rest of the syrup if the top of the capirotada looks dry.
Cool the capirotada at room temperature. Do not cover until it is cool; even then, leave the top ajar.
Try very hard not to eat the entire pan of capirotada at one sitting!