Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Capirotada This Way

Capirotada (kah-pee-roh-tah-dah) is a dish similar to bread pudding that is usually served during the Lenten season.  I first had the pleasure of enjoying it when a fellow teacher brought some "leftovers" into the teacher's lunch room many years ago.  Wow!  So interesting and full of flavor; nuts and cheese and sugar, sweet and savory together.  Just lovely.
I've since learned that the only thing that one Capirotada might have in common with another is the bread and the sweetness.  Families have their own Capirotada just like their own Thanksgiving Dressing.  Some add candy, some use tomatoes and onions with the bread and sugar "broth".  All different kinds of cheeses are used, all kinds of bread.  It's basically whatever you want it to be.
For an interesting treatise on the origin of Capirotada click on this link: Capirotada
So for whatever it's worth, having no family recipe to guide me, this is the recipe that I have settled on for ours.
Easter season would not be the same without it.

Here's what I use:
Old dinner rolls (stores around here sell these especially for Capirotada during Lent) torn up and baked until toasty and dry.
Nuts (any kind of nut is good, this time I used some toasted piñones)
Piloncillos (Mexican dark cane sugar, or you could use regular dark brown sugar)
Aged cheddar cheese
Mexican Crema (cream similar to creme fraiche, for serving)

To make:
Tear up the rolls and bake them until dry and toasted.  You will have to toss them two or three times while baking.

Now take three cups of water, some ground cinnamon or good cinnamon sticks, a few whole cloves, three or four piloncillo cones or 1 and 1/2 cups of brown sugar.  Boil this for about 5 minutes, and then strain the cinnamon and cloves out. Put it back in the pan and now add the butter, raisins and currants.    Boil 5 minutes more.

Take the toasted bread in the pan and add the apples, nuts and 1 cup grated cheese.

Ladle the hot syrup with the raisins and currants over the bread.

Cover it with foil and bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Serve hot with cold crema on top.   Happy Easter!

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