Capirotada or Mexican bread pudding Recipe
Capirotada or Mexican bread pudding
Flavors of Mexico
Total time: 1hr to 2hr

Prep. time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 65 minutes

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

Capirotada is a dessert typical of northwestern Mexico that is traditionally prepared on Good Friday for Easter.

Capirotada is a Mexican-style bread pudding made with bread, dried fruits (raisins, chopped apricots and chopped dates), fresh fruits (banana, orange, apple, pineapple), nuts (pine nuts, slivered almonds or chopped walnuts), peanuts, “piloncillo” (raw sugar cane), tortillas, butter and fresh cheese.

Capirotada is embued with deep symbolism like so many dishes during Lent and Easter week. In this case, the bread represents the Body of Christ and the syrup echoes Christ's blood. Cinnamon sticks are reminders of the wooden cross, the raisins its nails. The melted cheese that cloaks the dish stands for the Holy Shroud. 

For 6 to 8 servings

- 4 bolillos (Mexican sandwich rolls) or 1 large sturdy baguette cut crosswise into 1.5 cm / 1/2-inch slices
- 4 slightly dry tortillas
- 6 Tbsp. butter, melted or 3 Tbsp. butter and 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 250 ml / 1 cup dried fruits such as raisins, golden raisins, dried apricots, prunes or other dried fruit
- 250 ml / 1 cup fresh fruits such as banana, apple, chilacayote (Mexican squash)
- 250 ml / 1 cup peanuts or other nuts
- 250 ml / 1 cup shredded mild cheese, such as Anejo Cheese, Cotija Cheese or queso fresco to stay local or Monterey Jack, Colby or mild cheddar

- 500 ml / 2 cups water
- 2 large piloncillos (cones of unrefined brown sugar), or 325 ml / 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 orange zest (optional)

  1. Brush bread slices on both sides with melted butter.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and bake 8 minutes and then turn over to bake 5 more minutes. The bread should have a deep golden color. Set the bread and any remaining butter aside while you make the syrup.

Making the syrup

  1. In saucepan, bring the piloncillos or brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peel and water to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy, about 5 to 10 minutes..
  3. Remove from the heat to cool slightly before straining out the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Set aside.

Making the capirodata

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 350˚ F.
  2. Heat the tortillas in the microwave to soften them, then arrange on the bottom and sides of the greased baking dish so that the bread used in the pudding never directly touches the dish. 
  3. 1st layer: Cover the bottom with buttered bread. Strew a mixture of dried fruits, fresh fruits, peanuts or nuts and cheese atop the buttered bread.
  4. Slowly pour the syrup over the bread, making sure the bread absorbs the syrup. Don't be too generous, since you need enough syrup for all the layers. 
  5. Repeat layering as needed to fill the dish. If you have melted butter or syrup left over, pour it over the final layer before ending with cheese.
  6. Cover the dish with generously buttered aluminium foil.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes; uncover and bake again until the cheese is browned and bubbly - around 15 minutes.
  8. When the pudding is baked, remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. It is commonly served slightly warm or reheated if the capirotada is prepared in advance, but you can serve it cold as well.

Garnish each serving with cream if desired.

More recipe ideas

Photo: Agencia Reforma

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