Orange Almond Capirotada is a new twist on an old traditional recipe. Lent is the time when we serve this sweet and savory bread pudding here along the border of south Texas. However, it seems that not that many people are making capirotada these days.
So, I thought I would come up with a recipe that held onto tradition while utilizing fresh modernized ingredients.
A fresh twist on an old tradition
The most traditional capirotada recipes are made with loaf sugar, called piloncillo, dried fruits, such as prunes and raisins, nuts, and savory cheese. Prunes and cheese is not a flavor combination that most people would consider a treat these days. But if you understand the history of the dish, you’ll understand the reason behind the odd ingredients.
During the pre-Easter season of Lent, meatless meals are part of Catholic tradition. Originally, capirotada was a savory dish made with meat and cheese, but during Lent, the meat was omitted. To make the dish more substantial, sweet syrup and fruit was added. Shelf stable ingredients such as dried fruits and nuts made capirotada easy to put together any time. And everyone is always happy to use up stale bread!
Technically, capirotada is not a dessert. For those of you that are having trouble wrapping your mind around a sweet main course, think of baked beans, barbecue sauce, noodles kugel or old-fashioned Jell-o salads. All of these are sweet dishes that are not desserts. It’s the same concept with capirotada.
Fresh oranges and sweet spices
In this recipe for Orange Almond Capirotada, I switched out the prunes for fresh oranges. Also, instead of conventional savory cheese, I used cream cheese for a creamier texture. I tried to keep the spirit of the traditional recipe alive while creating a “pruneless” recipes that would appeal to more modern palates. I loved this!
You can check out my more traditional recipe for Cherry Apricot Capirotada here. Again, no prunes in this recipe, but all of the fruit is dried fruit. Adding fresh oranges made all the difference in this funky old-fashioned bread pudding.Print
Orange Almond Capirotada is the best tradition
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
2 qt. water (2lt)
Powdered sugar for garnish
1 lb. piloncillo cones (500g – substitute firmly packed brown sugar)
2 pc. star anise
½ tsp. anise seeds (1g)
½ tsp. cloves (1 gr)
½ tsp. whole black pepper (1 gr)
2 sticks cinnamon
½ cup fresh orange juice
1.5 sticks butter (173g)
1 small bunch of green onions (about 6-8), chopped
1 lb. stale bread, cut into cubes (500g)
8 oz. cream cheese (250g) cut into ¼” cubes (.6cm)
4 oz. silvered almonds (125g)
8 oz. fresh orange segments (170g)
8 oz. golden raisins (250g)
Pour the water into a 3 qt. (3lt) saucepan, and add the piloncillo, star anise, anise seeds, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the piloncillo/brown sugar has completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add orange juice.
In a separate large skillet, melt half of the butter. Add the green onions, and sauté for a minute, until the onions soften. Add the pieces of stale bread and allow to toast and absorb the butter. You may have to do this in batches, adding the rest of the butter as needed. Remove the bread pieces to a large ovenproof pan lined with parchment paper. Heat the broiler of your oven.
Once all of the bread has been passed through the butter, pour any remaining butter over the bread, but discard the onion pieces. Briefly toast the bread under the heated broiler, about 3 minutes until it is golden brown. Remove the pan of toasted bread, and then set the oven to 350°F (176°C).
Place a layer of the toasted bread in a 3 qt. (3lt.) baking dish and then sprinkle over half of the cream cheese, almonds, oranges and golden raisins. Top with another layer of toasted bread, and then continue layering, ending with a top layer of bread. Gently ladle over the sweet spiced tea. The baking dish should be quite full, but not overflowing. There is no need to cover the capirotada while it is baking, but you can do so if you like for a more tender crust.
Bake for one hour, until most of the sweet spiced tea is absorbed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly before serving. Ganish with powdered sugar.