How to Make Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding) | Receta de Cuaresma | Muy Bueno
How to Make Capirotada
Capirotada is a type of Mexican bread pudding traditionally served during Lent, but it is simple and delicious enough to prepare any time of the year. Here's how to do it.
Makes 8 servings
4 bolillo rollsORFrench rolls
16 oz (500 ml) piloncilloORdark brown sugar
2 cups (500 ml) water
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) ground cloves
1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter, divided
2 cups (500 ml) shredded cheese (Cotija, Monterey Jack, Longhorn Cheddar, Colby, or Queso Añejo)
3 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins
1/2 cup (125 ml) dried apricots
1 cup (250 ml) chopped nuts (pine nuts, almonds, pecans, or roasted peanuts)
Toasting the Bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).Prepare a baking sheet by greasing it with nonstick cooking spray or butter.
- For this step, you could line the sheet with parchment paper, instead, if you would prefer an easier clean-up.
Cut the rolls into thin slices.The slices should be about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Add butter to both sides and arrange them on your prepared baking sheet.
- You will end up using roughly half of the butter, or 1/4 cup (60 ml), for this step.
- Bolillo rolls are a type of Mexican bread available through many market bakeries. If you cannot find bolillo, though, French bread makes an excellent substitution. Both types of bread have crusty outsides and soft insides.
- For best results, use bread that has been left out or bread that is at least 2 days old. This bread is already somewhat stale, but for a recipe like this, a little extra crispiness is actually preferable.
Bake the rolls for 3 minutes per side.When ready, both sides should be dry and lightly browned.
- Remove the rolls from the baking sheet and let cool. Set aside.
- Turn the rolls after 3 minutes using tongs. Work carefully to avoid getting burned.
Alternatively, fry the bread.Toasting the bread in the oven is the contemporary way to prepare the bread, but a more traditional way to prepare it would be by frying it on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet.
- Melt 1 to 3 Tbsp (15 to 45 ml) of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Make sure that the butter coats the entire bottom of the skillet.
- Butter both sides of the each slice of bread, as with the oven-toasted method.
- Add the pieces of bread to the skillet a few at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- After 3 minutes or so, use a spatula to flip the bread over to the other side. The side that initially faced the pan should be crispy and lightly browned.
- Give the other side an additional 2 to 3 minutes to cook. When done, that side, too, should be crispy and lightly browned.
- Note that you may need to add more butter as you go along to keep the bottom of the skillet well-coated.
Preparing the Syrup
Combine the water, piloncillo, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium saucepan.Bring the ingredients to a boil on the stove over high heat.
- Piloncillos are cone-shaped pieces of raw, Mexican cane sugar. They are usually available in 4 oz (120 ml) and 9 oz (270 ml) sizes. If you cannot find piloncillo sugar, though, you can use brown sugar, instead.
- You could also use 1 full cinnamon stick and about 3 whole cloves instead of the ground spices, if desired. Note that these whole pieces of spice will need to be strained out before the syrup can be used, though.
Let simmer for 20 minutes.Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the syrup simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered.
- Simmering the syrup allows the tastes of cinnamon and cloves to permeate it more thoroughly, ultimately making the final syrup more flavorful.
Set aside.Remove the syrup from the heat and cover the pan with a lid until ready to use.
- If you used whole cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, you should let the entire syrup steep for 1 to 2 hours, giving the flavors more opportunity to disperse throughout the syrup. Pour the syrup through a mesh strainer to remove the whole spices before use.
Making and Baking the Capirotada
Grease a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.Make sure that the bottom and sides are well-coated.
- Use an 11 by 7 by 2-inch (28 by 18 by 5-cm) baking dish.
- You could use butter or shortening to grease the dish instead of cooking spray, if desired.
- Note that the oven should still be preheated to a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
Spread out a layer of toasted bread.Layer roughly 1/3 of the toasted bread at the bottom of the pan, arranging it in as even a layer as possible.
- Try to cover the entire of the bottom in at least one layer, but do not exceed two layers of bread at the bottom.
Cover with a layer of apples.Lay roughly 1/3 of the apple slices over the top of the bread layer.
- Some recipes leave this fruit layer out completely. Other recipes use 2 to 3 peeled and sliced bananas instead of or alongside the sliced apples.
Lay out some of the nuts, dried fruit, and cheese.Sprinkle 1/3 of the nuts, raisins, dried apricots, and shredded cheese over the apple layer.
- A traditional Mexican cheese, like Cotija or Queso Añejo, would work best, but you can replace these hard-to-find cheeses with more common options like Monterey Jack, Longhorn Cheddar, and Colby cheese.
- Additionally, you can use chopped cubes of cheese instead of shredded cheese, if desired. Just know that the cheese will not spread out as evenly when using cubes.
- Pine nuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and roasted peanuts are all good nut options. You can even use a nut blend, if desired. Just make sure that the nuts are chopped into small pieces regardless of the type.
Pour some of the syrup over the ingredients.Pour 1/3 of the syrup over the bread, apple, and fruit layers. Make sure that the bread at the bottom is well coated in syrup.
- Let soak for 15 minutes. By letting the first layers rest, you give the syrup more time to soak into the bread and other ingredients.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients.Arrange the remaining layers using the same pattern as before, and use 1/3 of the total amount of each ingredient each time. This means that you will have two more full layers after your initial layer.
- Let the bread pudding rest for 15 minutes after completing each full layer.
Bake, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes.Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven long enough to heat it through.
- Baking the bread pudding also helps the bread to absorb the syrup more effectively. Combining all the ingredients together before baking also allows the flavors to partially blend together.
Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.Remove the foil. Drizzle your remaining butter, about 1/4 cup (60 ml), over the top of the capirotada before returning it to the oven. Let it bake until the cheese is golden brown.
- The drizzle of butter is only optional, but it does add a final coating of moisture and flavor to the dish.
Serve warm.Scoop out the capirotada into individual serving dishes while still warm.
- Many people prefer to enjoy their capirotada cold, though. To chill the dish, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and refrigerate it for a few hours. If you have never had capirotada before, try it both ways to determine which version you prefer.
- For a reduced sugar alternative, substitute the piloncillo or brown sugar with a brown sugar and artificial sweetener blend. Use half as much of this blend instead of the full amount of sugar.
- For a completely sugar-free alternative, use an equal amount of artificial sweetener in place of the piloncillo or brown sugar.
Things You'll Need
Nonstick cooking spray
Parchment paper (optional)
11 by 7 by 2-inch (28 by 18 by 5-cm) baking dish
Apple corer and peeler
Sources and Citations
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Video: Easy Capirotada Recipe (Mexican Bread Pudding Recipe)
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