Growing up, Easter (pascua in Spanish) and the week leading up to it, holy week, (semana santa) was a big deal in our house. My parents stuck to our religious and cultural traditions. Certain foods of course, were a part of that tradition.
On Good Friday (viernes santo) we used to go to church in the morning followed by a late lunch-combination-dinner. This was one day we didn’t consume meat and the traditional meal we ate was a cod and chickpea dish, rice and torrejas for dessert. My favourite part was the torrejas. They were soft, sweet and a once-a-year special treat. It’s the number one recipe I associate with our Easter traditions as a child and was excited to make it again after all these years and share it with Food Bloggers of Canada.
As usual, I try to follow my mom’s recipe. Looking at the recipe you will notice is very similar to regular french toast. However, there are three key things that distinguish torrejas from french toast:
- The syrup – you make your own syrup to go with it. Packaged syrup just doesn’t work for this recipe.
- The bread. My mom used to use paska bread popular at during Easter but a few days old raisin loaf or egg bread works too.
- It should be served cold. Once cooked, the syrup is poured over the bread and sits to let the bread soak up the syrup (which is why using a thick bread is crucial).
A thick bread, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, water and cinnamon is all you need.
First step is to make the syrup.
The bread should be sliced into one inch pieces so they don’t fall apart or get too soggy when they are dipped into the milk and eggs.
Fry them as you would french toast, then let cool.
Drizzle syrup over torrejas. The longer you let them soak, the better. They are meant to be served cold.
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp of cloves (optional)
- 3 tbsp of canola oil
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 8 – 1 inch slices of day old paska bread or raison loaf (regular sliced bread will fall apart)
- Combine sugar, water, cloves if you’re using them and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until thick. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Preheat canola oil in frying fan.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg whites. Add the egg yolks to the whites and stir to combine once.
- Pour milk, vanilla and ground cinnamon into another bowl.
- Dip each slice of bread into the milk mixture, remove and then dip into the egg mixture. Fry them as you would French toast (until they are golden in colour on both sides). Remove from heat.
- Place the torrejas in a deep dish and drizzle the syrup on top. Let sit for at least one hour allowing the torrejas to cool and soak in the syrup .