Another guest blog post from Kazden Haugen.
According to Wikipedia, Capirotada, is a traditional Mexican bread pudding that is usually prepared and eaten during Lent. The basic ingredients carry a rich symbolism to the Passion of Christ, and the dish is considered by many Mexican and Mexican-American families as a reminder of the suffering of Christ on Good Friday. The bread represents the Body of Christ, the syrup is his blood, the raisins are the nails of the cross, and the whole cinnamon sticks are the wood of the cross. The melted cheese stands for the Holy Shroud.
When my mom goes on trips, she is usually thoughtful enough to bring my brother and I some kind of treats. This time it was ingredients for Capirotada. She had been to an authentic Mexican place for lunch and she got into a conversation with the waitress about Mexican desserts. There was a store in the restaurant that happened to have all the ingredients. As we researched this dessert we thought it was quite a coincidence that we are also celebrating the season of Lent.
We had no idea how to make this dessert, we only had the name of it on a piece of paper from the waitress. Thanks to google, we only had to do a little research. We watched the following videos, (Capirotada Video #1 and Capirotada Video #2) and read several recipes like this one by Pati’s Mexican Table. We wanted to make this our own as some of the things sounded better than others and we just like to be creative. So here is what we came up with. We didn’t see ginger in any recipes we researched but we had some and decided it would be a good addition.
Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)
- 12 ounces Mexican Piloncillo Cane Sugar
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 12 cloves
- 2 inches fresh ginger, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 12 slices toasted bread*
- 2 tablespoons butter
In a medium saucepan on high heat, bring water to a boil. Add piloncillo, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Reduce to medium heat, cooking until sugar (piloncillo) is dissolved. Strain sugar/spice mixture into a pitcher or large measuring bowl. Grease the bottom of a deep oven safe dish with butter. (DO NOT use a springform pan… see notes below.)Place one layer of sliced bread in the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 of the sugar syrup and 1/2 of the raisins and the cheese. Add another layer of bread and add the remaining syrup, cheese and raisins. Cover and bake in a preheated 350º oven for 35 minutes. Remove the cover/lid and let cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream if desired.
*Bread can be regular white bread, a French style roll, challah, brioche or special bread from Mexico. They key is that the bread is dried or toasted before putting it in the recipe. The bread from this recipe came pre toasted from La Frontera in Redmond, Oregon. A big thanks to them for the information and recipe inspiration.
There was only one disaster. Everything was going good until our first problem occurred. Pouring the syrup into a non-airtight springform pan was a big mistake. The syrup started leaking out the bottom and side of the pan. Luckily we had put it on a cookie sheet in case this happened. We didn’t lose a thing as we transferred all the bread, cheese, syrup and raisins into a more appropriate pan. The only good thing about making mistakes is that you learn from them. It goes to show you that when making up your own recipes, you can run into problems so you must learn to work with what you have and do it better next time.