Capirotada is a decadent Mexican dessert with an equally rich history. Traditionally served during Lent, capirotada was invented as a way to use up leftovers before the the week of fasting. Usually composed of toasted French bread, milk, cheese, butter, peanuts, and raisins, and covered in a cinnamon and brown sugar syrup, capirotada was also a great source of protein as meat was traditionally forbidden during Lent. Recipes for this sumptuous treat were recorded by the Holy Office of the Spanish Inquisition in the mid-17th century and many variations exist to this day. Try this version this Easter!
- 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks.
Combine bread, raisins, almonds, and butter in a large bowl. Drizzle with warm sugar syrup, tossing gently to coat. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Cover with foil; chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Serve warm.
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