Capirotada is a traditional Mexican bread pudding made with stale bread, cheese, and a mixture of spices and sweeteners such as cinnamon, cloves, and piloncillo (unrefined brown sugar). It is often served during Lent and other religious observances, and is said to have originated in the 17th century when Mexican nuns needed to use up leftover bread and other ingredients before the start of the Lenten season. The bread is soaked in a mixture of water or milk, piloncillo, and spices, then layered with cheese, raisins, and nuts such as peanuts or pecans. The pudding is then baked until the bread is soft and the cheese is melted. Some variations of capirotada also include fruit or other ingredients.
Here is a recipe for capirotada that serves 8-10 people:
- 8 cups stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup piloncillo (unrefined brown sugar)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 cups grated queso fresco (Mexican cheese) or other melting cheese such as mozzarella
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped nuts, such as peanuts or pecans
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a saucepan, combine the water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the piloncillo has dissolved.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
- Place the bread cubes in a large baking dish. Pour the piloncillo mixture over the bread, making sure to coat all of the bread evenly.
- Sprinkle the cheese, raisins, and nuts over the bread mixture.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is soft.
- Serve hot, garnished with additional chopped nuts if desired.
- You can also add sliced apples, diced pineapple, or other fruit to the capirotada.
- Some variations include using brandy or rum to soak the bread in place of the water and piloncillo mixture.
- You can also add other spices to the mixture, such as allspice or nutmeg.
Enjoy your capirotada!
Here are some tips for making capirotada:
- Use stale bread: Capirotada is traditionally made with stale bread, as it will absorb the sweet and spicy mixture better than fresh bread. If you don’t have stale bread on hand, you can dry out fresh bread by placing it in the oven at a low temperature (around 200°F) for 10-15 minutes, or leaving it out on the counter for a day or two.
- Adjust the sweetness: The amount of piloncillo (unrefined brown sugar) you use in the recipe can be adjusted to your taste. You can add more or less piloncillo depending on how sweet you want your capirotada to be.
- Experiment with different cheeses: While queso fresco is a traditional choice for capirotada, you can use any melting cheese that you like. Mozzarella, cheddar, and Monterey Jack are all good options.
- Add your own touch: Feel free to get creative with your capirotada by adding your own favorite ingredients. Some ideas include sliced apples, diced pineapple, or other fruit; nuts such as almonds or walnuts; or spices such as nutmeg or allspice.
- Serve it hot: Capirotada is best served hot, straight out of the oven. If you have leftovers, you can rewarm them in the oven or microwave before serving.