Capirotada is the Mexican version of the so known bread pudding. It’s traditionally eaten during Lent as some say because the cheese provides extra protein to Lenten observers abstaining from meat on Fridays. Of course, this beautiful Authentic Mexican Capirotada- Bread Pudding can be made all year round, and it goes well for parties, around the holidays or Sunday meals in the family.
There are many versions of Capirotada out there, but I think this is the one that won my heart over the years. I made it in many occasions and it was always a success. As all my recipes, this one is also easy to make and uses ingredients almost everyone has in their pantry.
Like many international cuisines, the Mexican one makes good use of everything available. Nothing goes to waste and this recipe is a good example of it. The recipe requires bread that is a couple of days old, a syrup that is made with piloncillo or dark brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, Monterey Jack or mild Cheddar cheese, raisins and almonds. Yes, that cheese makes it all worth the calories! There are layers of bread, syrup, raisins and almonds, cheese, all baked in the oven until golden brown and delicious.
How To Make Authentic Mexican Capirotada- Bread Pudding
First of all, any kind of bread works. A French baguette is the best, I personally did not have some, so I used a country white bread. In Mexico they used the bolillo, little French baguette that is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. It is also called pan blanco. It has to be few days old, or quite dry.
If it is not, just slice it and dry it for few minutes in a low temperature oven. Or butter it on both sides, place it under the broiler for 3 minutes on each side and you already completed the first step of the recipe.
While the bread is getting ready for the next step, make the syrup.
On the plate we have piloncillo, which is dark brown sugar shaped like a little cone, raisins and cinnamon sticks. The syrup is made only with sugar, water and cinnamon sticks.
It is boiled until the sugar completely dissolves, then it is cooled and used over the bread.
The next step is to layer the bread and the rest of the ingredients on a baking dish. I had enough bread to end up with two layers of bread, but I made this pudding in the past using only one layer. It was still good. Raisins, almonds and cheese are sprinkled over the first layer of bread.
Half of the syrup is poured over the first layer. You will need to let the bread soak that syrup for 5-10 minutes, then you can continue with the next layer of bread, raisins, almonds and cheese. Pour the rest of the syrup over the bread and let it soak again.
Bake until golden brown on top. The bottom layer of goodness will be slightly caramelized from the brown sugar, the pudding is going to be soft in the middle and crunchy outside.
It is served cold, with heavy cream on top and decorated with some flaked or slivered almonds.
Delicious flavors and textures make this dessert a handsome option for any end of the meal. Enjoy!
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The recipe works better with older bread that is quite dry.
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Slice the bread about ½ in thick or 1 cm. Lightly butter on both sides.
Layer on a baking sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly toasted and dry. Remove and cool.Set the slices aside.
Place the sugar, cinnamon and water in a pan. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes without stirring, to reduce it. Remove the cinnamon stick and let the syrup cool.
Grease a 8 inch/20cm square baking dish with butter.
Layer the bread, almonds, raisins and cheese in the dish, pour the syrup over, letting it soak into the bread for 5-10 minutes. Repeat the steps with the same layer of bread and the rest of the ingredients. Do not omit this step. The bread needs to soak the syrup.
Bake the pudding for about 30 mins, until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, leave to stand for 5 minutes, then cut into squares.
Serve warm or cold with heavy cream over and decorate it with some flaked almonds.
Makes a great breakfast the next day with milk poured over.
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