In Mexico, Capirotada is a traditional dessert similar to a bread pudding that is usually eaten during the Lenten period.

Capirotada has a very long history. Recipes were recorded by the Holy Office of the Spanish Inquisition in the mid-17th century and can still be found in the archives there to this day. It is typically made from ingredients in common use in Spain at the time of the Conquest. Some New World touches were added along the way, and it’s popular to this day throughout the Hispanic world.

The list of variations in the traditional Capirotada recipe is enormous. Every Mexican cook will have an own version.

Ingredients

  • 6 day-old bolillos or French bread, torn in ½-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 8-ounce piloncillo cones
  • 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1/3 cup raw peanuts, peeled
  • 10 dried figs, sliced in rounds
  • 10 dried apricots, quartered
  • 1/3 cup guava paste, sliced in ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese (or any melting cheese such as Munster or Oaxaca), shredded
  • 4 tablespoons colorful sprinkles or grajeas (nonpareils)

Instructions

  1. On a large baking sheet, evenly distribute bread pieces. Toast under broiler for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Butter a 12×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, piloncillo cones, cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer until piloncillo cones melt liquid turns into a slightly thickened syrup. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  5. Arrange a third of bread pieces on bottom of buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with one-third of shredded coconut, one-third of peanuts, one-third dried figs, one-third dried apricots, one-third guava paste, one-third cheese and drizzle one-third of the syrup. Repeat until all ingredients have been used. If any syrup is left over, pour evenly over layers.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and cheese has melted. Garnish with sprinkles and serve.