Capirotada originated from a 15th-century Spanish dish that was heavily influenced by Moorish cuisine.
Moorish cuisine sprang up as a result of the Arabic occupation of North Africa in the eighth century.
Like any bread pudding, preparing the dish was seen as a way to make use of stale bread.
Before it was brought to the New World by the Spanish conquistadores, capirotada was a more savory dish.
But it became sweeter dish after New World ingredients and indigenous traditions were combined with the existing Spanish version, leading to several varieties of capirotada.
This recipe variety or version is the traditional and popular bread pudding dish from Mexico.
Capirotada Mexican Bread Pudding
1 quart whole milk
3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 whole clove
3 or 4 large piloncillos *
1 loaf french bread, hard/stale, torn or cut into 1-inch cubes**
3 bananas, sliced***
1 cup cranberries^
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 cup whole dried prunes, preferable small prunes
1 cup mixed or your choice: peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, chopped almonds
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, cubed or shredded cheese
* Piloncillos are cone shaped pieces of raw cane sugar. You can find them at your local market in the produce section or Latin foods section
** In Mexico the traditional bread to use is called bolillo rolls, which can be found at your local Latin market or in your local bakeries
*** optional to use 3 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced) in place of bananas. The preferred apples to use are ones you bake with.
^ option to use raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a medium-size baking dish.
Boil the milk, cinnamon sticks, clove, and piloncillo together until a syrup forms; set aside.
In the prepared baking dish, place a layer of cubed bread pieces. Cover with a layer of the banana and prunes.
Next sprinkle some of the cranberries, chopped dates, nuts, and some shredded cheese over the top. Repeat layers until all the ingredients (except the syrup) are used.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and clove from syrup and pour the syrup over the top of the dry ingredients. Bake for about 30 minutes; remove from oven.
Cool slightly, then spoon onto plates and serve warm. Some people also like it cold.
Store left overs, if any in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
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