Now that we live in Texas, we are fortunate to be able to sample some of the most special South-of-the-Border Catholic cultural cuisine during holy days. Latino ingredients are abundant and readily available at local grocers for us to try cooking a meaningful Mexican meal. For Lent, we learned how to make a traditional bread pudding called capirotada. Our Tex-Mex friends explained to us that the bread represents the body of Jesus Christ; the syrup is His precious blood; the cinnamon sticks are the wood of the cross; the raisins are our sins and the nails of the crucifixion; and the cheese symbolizes the church that binds all of the faithful together. Capirotada exemplifies edible evangelism at its best!
(Inspired by Gregorio y Sylvia P. and adapted from HEB)
- 4 bolillos (white or wheat rolls) or 1 large loaf of French bread
- ½ cup butter or margarine
- 5 cups water
- 3 sticks cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 3 cones piloncillo (or 1 ½ cups brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Mexican vainilla)
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we used Mexican blend of shredded cheeses, such as Sargento brand Classic 4 Cheese Mexican)
Slice the bread and butter them. Toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut the sliced, buttered bread in to 2-inch pieces. Arrange them in a large casserole or baking pan.
Make a syrup by boiling the water with cinnamon, anise seeds, piloncillo/brown sugar and vanilla for 30 minutes, mixing well to dissolve the piloncillo/brown sugar. Strain the residue and retain the liquid. Sprinkle half the raisins on top of the bread.
Sprinkle one cup of the shredded cheese on top of the bread. Ladle the syrup over the bread until it is half soaked. Sprinkle with the remaining raisins and cheese. Ladle more syrup until it is well absorbed in the bread mixture. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Decorate the top with cinnamon sticks in the form of a cross (optional). Capirotada may be served warm or cold.
- Sprinkle a cup of chopped pecans in the mix before baking to add a crunchy texture to the dish.