During Holy Week, the delicious flavors of traditional pastries return to entice our palate. At this time of the year, torrijas are a must. Eaten throughout Spain, they are made from slices of bread soaked in milk, sugar and egg, then fried in olive oil. There are a number of variations, depending on the liquid used to soak them and the way they're served. Some regions opt for sugar, while in Andalucia, they prefer torrijas made with honey syrup.
They're best served at room temperature and should be eaten the same day, or at most, the next morning. You could make them in the evening for breakfast the next day.
The bread should be day-old and slightly dry with a firmer crumb so that it can be soaked in the milk without breaking up. In Spain, there is even a special bread for making torrijas.
Avoid the white pith of the lemon and orange peel when zesting the fruit, since this imparts a bitter flavor.
(1) Some cooks like to flavor the honey syrup by adding some orange and lemon zest.
- Heat the milk and wine in a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir well to dissolve it. Remove from the heat.
- Slice the bread into fairly thick slices (1.5 cm). Dip each slice in the milk until soaked through and transfer to a rack to drain slightly.
- Heat the oil in a skillet with the lemon and orange zest to flavor it - there should be enough oil to cover half the thickness of the bread.
- Beat the eggs in a deep dish. Add a pinch of salt to keep the egg from forming strings when cooked.
- Dip each soaked bread slice in the beaten egg.
- Fry in hot oil over medium heat, turning midway with a large spatula. Once both sides are well browned, remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.
- Repeat until you have used up all the bread.
- Heat the water and honey in a saucepan.
- When the syrup begins to boil lightly, immerse the torrijas slices for a few minutes.
- Drain. Cool for a few hours before serving.
Photo: ID 38781030 /: archeophoto / MSCOMM
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