From Tradition to Table: Making Torrijas for Easter in Spain
Easter in Spain is a magical time full of religious celebrations, delicious food, and time with loved ones. One of the most beloved traditions during this time is the preparation and consumption of torrijas, a sweet and decadent dessert that has been enjoyed in Spain for centuries. Today, we’re going to dive into the history of torrijas, how to make them, and the different variations you can try.
History of Torrijas
While the exact origins of this dish are not clear, it is believed to have originated in medieval Spain, when the country was under Islamic rule. At the time, bread was a staple food, and torrijas were a way to use up stale bread that would otherwise go to waste. It was also believed that the bread had medicinal properties, which made it popular during times of illness. As Christianity spread throughout Spain, torrijas became associated with Easter, and they have been an important part of the holiday and its sweets ever since.
Torrijas in Spanish Movies and Literature
Torrijas have made appearances in a number of literary and cinematic works, often as a symbol of Spanish culture and tradition. In the book “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, one of the characters, Fermín, prepares torrijas for the protagonist, Daniel. The torrijas are described as “warm and soft, like a mother’s embrace.” In the movie “Volver” by Pedro Almodóvar, the character Raimunda makes torrijas for her daughter Paula as a special treat.
Torrijas are also mentioned in the book “The Seville Communion” by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, in which the main character, Father Quart, enjoys a plate of torrijas with a local priest.
In the film “All About My Mother” by Pedro Almodóvar, the character Huma prepares torrijas for her mother as a way to show her love and affection. Torrijas also make an appearance in the popular Spanish television series “MasterChef,” where contestants are often challenged to create their own versions of the classic dessert.
Beyond their appearances in popular culture, torrijas continue to be a beloved and cherished dessert in Spain, particularly during Easter celebrations. Families gather together to prepare and share torrijas, passing down their own unique recipes and variations from generation to generation. The simple yet delicious combination of bread, milk, eggs, and sugar has stood the test of time and remains a staple of Spanish cuisine.
The Basic Torrijas Recipe
The basic ingredients are bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and oil. The bread should be a day or two old and slightly stale. Cut it into thick slices, about an inch or so thick. In a bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs until well combined. Dip each slice of bread into the mixture, making sure it is fully coated.
In a large frying pan, heat up some oil until it’s hot. Add the bread slices to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Once the torrijas are cooked, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
While the torrijas are still warm, sprinkle them with sugar. Some people also like to add a little bit of cinnamon for extra flavor. You can serve the torrijas warm or at room temperature, and they are delicious on their own or topped with whipped cream or ice cream.
Of course, there are many variations on this basic recipe. Some people like to soak the bread in wine instead of milk, which gives the torrijas a unique flavor. Others like to add honey or orange blossom water to the egg and milk mixture. Some people even add a layer of cream or custard between the slices of bread for extra decadence. The possibilities are endless!
Torrijas by Dani García caramelized with white chocolate and coconut - from his restaurant Bibo, adapted so you can prepare them at home.
Dani García is a renowned Spanish chef who has received three Michelin stars throughout his career. His restaurant Bibo, offers a unique culinary experience that combines traditional Andalusian cuisine with innovative techniques and ingredients. The restaurant’s sophisticated atmosphere and impeccable service make it the perfect destination for a special occasion or a romantic dinner. One of the most sought-after dishes on the menu is the seasonal Torrija, a delicious dessert that combines the sweetness of caramelized white chocolate and coconut with the softness of Brioche bread. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in this exquisite dish and explore the rest of the menu at Bibo for an unforgettable dining experience.
But if you’re looking to impress your guests at home with Dani García´s sophisticated and elegant version of the classic Spanish dessert, then look no further. While the recipe may take a bit more time and effort than a traditional torrija recipe, the results are truly worth it. Your guests will be amazed by the complex flavors and beautiful presentation of this dish. So, let’s get started!
Torrijaby Dani García an image from La Mansión de las ideas.
INGREDIENTS (10 torrijas):
- 1 loaf of brioche bread (or any semi-sweet bread)
- 200g of cow’s milk
- 200g of cream
- A vanilla pod
- 200g of white chocolate
- 200g of coconut milk
- 20 tablespoons of sugar
- 10 teaspoons of butter
- 300g of frozen raspberries
- Vanilla icecream
1- Cut the bread for the torrijas into slices with a width of approximately 2 fingers.
2- Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds, and reserve both the pod and the seeds.
3- Heat the cow’s milk, coconut milk, cream on medium heat until boiling and add the vanilla seeds and pod.
4- Remove the mixture from the heat, add the white chocolate, and stir with a whisk until completely melted.
5- Cool until it reaches a temperature of approximately 50ºC (it is important to have this temperature so that the pores of the bread open more easily).
6- Place the bread slices on a rack.
7- Moisten each slice with a tablespoon until they are juicy, and they must also be smooth so that they do not fall apart.
8- Reserve the torrijas in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
For the toffee-style caramel: 1- Toast 2 tablespoons of sugar with a dash of water and 1 teaspoon of butter over medium-high heat in a pan (it should have a toffee tone).
2- Place a torrija on the toffee and cook on both sides (lower the heat to avoid burning the caramelization).
3- Repeat this process with each torrija.
1- Crush some frozen raspberries.
2- Serve a torrija on a plate with the crushed raspberries.
3- Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream over the raspberries.
And now you can succumb to this sweet temptation with a scent of coconut and caramel… Dani García’s torrijas enamor everyone from the littlest to the oldest. A guaranteed success!
The popular MasterChef España show always includes Torrijas as part of the cooking challenges for its participants. Check out the following one with green apple by Luna.
Similar recipes around the world
Similar dishes can be found in other countries around the world. In France, for example, a similar dessert is known as pain perdu, which translates to “lost bread.” This dish is made by soaking stale bread in milk, eggs, and sugar, and then frying it until golden brown. Pain perdu is typically served with powdered sugar and fresh fruit.
In Italy, a similar dessert is known as frittelle di latte, which translates to “milk fritters.” These fritters are made by mixing milk, flour, eggs, and sugar together to form a batter, which is then fried until golden brown. Frittelle di latte are typically served with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of honey.
In the United States, a similar dish is known as French toast. This dish is made by soaking bread in a mixture of milk,
eggs, and sugar, and then frying it until golden brown. French toast is often served with a variety of toppings, such as maple syrup, powdered sugar, or fresh fruit.
In Latin America, a similar dessert is known as “torrejas.” These torrejas are made with stale bread that has been soaked in milk and eggs, and then fried until golden brown. They are often served with a drizzle of honey or syrup, and are a popular dessert during Holy Week.
Torrijas are a beloved dessert in Spain, with a rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire. These delicious treats are made by soaking stale bread in milk and eggs, frying it until golden brown, and then sprinkling it with cinnamon and sugar. There are many variations of torrijas throughout Spain, and similar dishes can be found in other countries around the world.
Whether you are in Spain during Holy Week or simply looking to enjoy a delicious dessert, torrijas are a wonderful choice. With their crunchy exterior, soft interior, and sweet, cinnamon flavor, they are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. So why not try making torrijas at home, and discover the delicious taste of this classic Spanish dessert for yourself by following the basic recipe or a more sophisticated one?