Torrijas de Leche Caseras
Torrijas, this delicious recipe has passed from generation to generation and which, to this day, continues to be the main star of Easter week.
As we are big fans of French toast. So much so that we have made them in a traditional maternal version, stuffed, salty and somewhat heretical, and we even made a torrijero map of Spain. There we realized that there are the Castilian torrijas, the Galician torradas, the Cantabrian and Basque toasts, the Catalan towers (llosquetes, flirts or rostes) of Santa Teresa … Not to mention the French pain perdu (lost bread), the rabanadas or fatias douradas from Portugal or the German Arme Ritter (poor knights). They are all basically the same: a sweet made from bread soaked, packed, and then fried.
But where does the recipe come from? And why do we eat them at Easter? If we dig a little into its history, we will see that French toast are a basic wardrobe staple. A dessert so simple and logical that even if you didn’t know them, you could invent them in 10 minutes. For that simple reason, they are one of the oldest sweets on record: two very similar recipes appear in the book “De re covadora” (IV-V centuries), attributed in part to the Roman glutton Marco Gavio Apicio (s. I AD). In the seventh book of this cookbook, chapter XI dedicated to homemade desserts, there are two formulas for aliter dulcia or “another type of sweet”.
First ancestor of torrijas: “Take good African must buns, without crust, and put them in milk. When they are soaked put them in the oven without drying. Take them out hot, chop them and spread them with honey to soak them. Sprinkle with pepper and serve ”.
Second ancestor: “Take bread, peel off the crust and cut large pieces. Soak them in milk, fry them in oil and add honey on top ”.
It does not use eggs n or sugar, but remember that the latter is quite a modern thing and was introduced to Europe by the Arabs. Even later, cane sugar was a luxury ingredient almost until the 19th century, when beet sugar became popular. Homemade torrijas were made with honey and often with wine instead of milk, since not everyone had cattle and on top of that, wine is not perishable.
And when I say milk, do not assume that it is cow. The Iberian Peninsula is not completely green, and to feed cattle herds you need a pasture that not all regions have. To make matters worse, the old cows were not dairy breed and they only had milk when it was left over after they suckled the calf. Even in the 16th century it was thought that the best milk was the most similar to that of the human complexion. First “the woman’s, after her the donkey, then the goat, then the sheep, then the cow and finally the pig” (Regiment and Health Notice, Francisco Núñez de Oria, 1585) .
For lovers of sweets and, even more so of torrijas, with very little time to cook, we have prepared this quick and simple recipe with which to surprise at home these days of Easter. Its preparation time is 20 minutes and they will come out like about 9 torrijas, depending on the size of the loaf of bread.
Torrijas de Leche Caseras
- Milk – 2 1/2 cups
- Cinnamon stick – 1
- Brown sugar – 3 tbsp
- Lemon peel – 2
- A loaf of bread – 1
- Eggs – 2
- Cinnamon Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Sugar – 3 tbsp
- Olive oil – for frying
- In a saucepan, boil the milk with cinnamon stick, lemon peels and the sugar.
While the milk is heating, cut into slices of about 2 cm thick, the whole loaf of bread.
- Once the milk with the cinnamon sticks and the sugar has come to a boil, place bread slices in a deep dish and pour the milk to soak the bread.
- In another deep dish beat the eggs.
- Heat the pan with the oil over high heat so that the torrijas are made quickly and do not get flooded with oil.
- When bread slices are soft but not crumbled, take them one by one and coat them in the beaten egg, and transfer them to the oil.
- Fry the torrijas in the oil. When they are golden on one side, turn over and wait for them to brown on the other side.
- Once toasted, remove them to a plate or container in which placed kitchen paper so that the rest of the oil from the torrijas drains.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon powder in a separate plate and toss fried torrijas one by one.