Sunday, March 22, 2015
Torrijas (Spanish Style French Toast)
Torrija is a traditional dessert of Lent and Holy Week in Spain. It was born a long time ago as a way to make good use of bread that was no longer fresh. Paradoxically, today we buy a special bread to make torrijas.
As with French Toasts, a slice of bread is soaked in milk, dipped in egg and fried in olive oil. It is then topped with cinnamon and sugar or with honey. There are many variations of torrijas like the ones that are soaked in wine instead of milk.
The typical bread used would be a French-style baguette, however sweeter breads can be used like challah or brioche. In my recipe I am using challah bread, a Jewish braided bread, since it is sweet and has a soft crust.
Torrijas should be eaten at room temperature as a dessert, breakfast or simply as a snack with a coffee or tea. They are at their best the same day you make them, but if you have any leftovers they would be great the next day too.
The best part is I only make them around this time of the year, once Holy Week is over my family has to wait one more year to eat torrijas, it is a long wait for my kids!!
TORRIJAS (SPANISH STYLE FRENCH TOAST)
3/4 of a challah bread
4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons sugar
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs (beaten)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Cut the challah bread in half lengthwise, then slice each half in 1-inch wide pieces. Put the sliced bread in one single layer in a deep pan. I use about 3/4 of one challah bread since that yields enough torrijas. If you are making the entire challah, you should add 1 more cup of milk and one more tablespoon of sugar for the milk.
In a deep pan heat the milk, sugar and lemon zest. When the milk is about to boil pour over the sliced bread and let stand for about 1 hour.
In a deep sauté pan heat the olive oil. Dip the bread in the egg and cook over medium heat until golden brown flipping once (about 1 minute on each side).
Stir together sugar and cinnamon. Transfer to a serving platter and immediately sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mixture or with honey.