Since last year's MoFo, I've been trying to compile recipes that remind me of home. Bread pudding, at its finest, makes me feel so cozy that I feel like I'm back in SA. Capirotada is a traditional bread pudding usually eaten around Lent. I, however, am not religious so I eats it whenever. Different ingredients have symbolic meaning, and you can read about it here. What you mainly need to know: it's versatile and topped with cheese!
Basically, capirotada is layered bread, fruit, nuts, syrup "tea," and cheese. It's baked off to perfection. I've even seen some recipes containing tomato and onion, but that's a little too much for me. The key to this is definitely stale bread. Staler is better. Also, go for the cheese...it cuts through the sweetness and tastes awesome.
|fresh out the oven|
Orange is not traditional in capirotada, but I love the flavor it lends. When making the “tea,” it should be just slightly thicker than actual tea.
4 cups water
2 piloncillos (Mexican brown sugar cones), broken
2 medium oranges, juiced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp anise seed
½ tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp vanilla
zest from 1 medium orange
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup raisins or cranberries
2 small granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 lb loaf of French bread, stale or toasted and sliced
1 cup melty vegan cheese, optional
Make the syrup “tea” first. Combine the water, piloncillos, orange juice, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, anise seed, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower to a simmer for 20 minutes, until piloncillos have dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, though it will still be thin. Remove from heat and stir in the zest and vanilla. Discard the cinnamon sticks.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan and add half the bread in a single layer. Layer half of the pecans, raisins, and apples on top of the bread. Spoon half of the “tea” over this layer, making sure the bread soaks up the syrup. Repeat with the remaining bread, nuts, fruits, and “tea.” Let sit for 15 minutes so the bread can soak up the syrup.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add the cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
|the crustier the bread, the better|