I love this time of year not only because it’s the beginning of spring but it’s also my birthday month. I have so many memories about my birthday due to what this season represents. The weather starts to get warmer and the windy days have no end. It makes me feel like sitting outside on a rocking chair and sipping some tea. It inspires me to just relax and just be.
It’s also Easter time. Growing up in Mexico I had very different traditions during this time of year. See, in Mexico Easter is not about a bunny, colored eggs, chocolate or pretty dresses. Like in the U.S. there is a religious focus too, but food traditions play more of a role in Mexico. We don’t even celebrate Easter on Sunday! We actually call it “Semana Santa” (Holy Week). So we get to celebrate it for an entire week!! Most people don’t work during that week and it’s an instant vacation for everyone. Kind of like spring break for students in the U.S. but in Mexico, everyone gets to enjoy it.
There are many dishes that are typical for this season but the most common ones are seafood and Capirotada. In fact, most people eat Capirotada only during this time of year.
Capirotada’s main ingredient is bread and piloncillo. If you’re not familiar with piloncillo, it’s basically unprocessed brown sugar. It’s one of the rawest & most natural sweeteners you could find. I was happy to see the piloncillo cones at my local Fry’s store (Kroger family) so no need to run to a Mexican specialty store.
Don’t be afraid of the cheese on this recipe. It sounds weird but trust me, it’s actually very good since it helps to balance the sweetness of the piloncillo.
- 4 bolillos rolls or 1 loaf of French bread
- 2 piloncillo cones or 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup milk (2% or whole)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 2 apples, peeled & cut in 1 inch squares
- 2 bananas, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 6 oz white shredded cheese such as Monterey Jack, Manchego or Mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- In a medium saucepan, add the piloncillos, water, milk, cinnamon sticks & ground clove. Bring to a boil and stir the mixture constantly so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the piloncillo has been dissolved, cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- Butter a baking dish and add 1 layer of cubed bread.
- In another layer add the apples & bananas.
- Add half of pecans, raisins, cheese and the piloncillo mixture.
- Add another layer of bread and the rest of the pecans, raisins, cheese and piloncillo mixture.
- Push down the bread to make sure the it soaks the liquid.
- Cover pan with foil andd bake for 30 minutes on preheated oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove foil and bake for 10 more minuttes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.