Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Capriotada and the #MuyBuenoCookbook Cook-Off

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Most Tuesdays I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More

Today I have something special to share with you all - something I've been excited about for the past month, ever since Heather from girlichef invited me to participate. This post is part of the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef - which means I have the privilege of joining 15 other talented bloggers in a special preview of the new Muy Bueno Cookbook.


The new Muy Bueno Cookbook spans 3 generations of women and their passion for food - lovingly told through stories, anecdotes and favorite recipes. The cookbook is infused with 3 different flairs of Latin and Mexican cuisine, all presented through gorgeous photos of treasured family recipes. After nearly 2 weeks of browsing through my advance copy of the Muy Bueno Cookbook (graciously provided by Hippocrene), I've already bookmarked over a dozen recipes I NEEEEEEED to try and plenty more I want to try.

Over the next couple of weeks, as part of the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef, I will be sharing at least 3 recipes from the cookbook. As with every Tuesday post, I will provide step-by-step photos, my thoughts on each recipe, and any notable changes I made to the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this series of posts for the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight and if you're intrigued by today's recipe, be sure to check out the Muy Bueno Cookbook and blog for even more recipes, stories, and flavors.



How to Make: Capriotada
Original recipe courtesy of Muy Bueno Cookbook
For a printable recipe with complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

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There are 3 parts to Capriotada (Mexican Bread Pudding): 1) spiced syrup, 2) toasted bread and
3) grated cheese. These three parts are layered together and baked into a thickened bread
pudding with a crusty, cheesy top and rich, spiced sweet center. The Capriotada starts with the
sweet, spiced, fragrant syrup. And for the best syrup, you really need to use piloncillo which
is raw sugar that has been pressed into cones. Piloncillo has a very distinctive flavor so I really
recommend using it, but if you can't find piloncillo near you, then use dark brown sugar instead.
You will need 12 oz of piloncillo or 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar.

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Next comes the spice which gives the syrup it's delicious flavor - whole cloves and cinnamon
sticks. I used 4 cinnamon sticks and 6 whole cloves as recommended by the recipe. I love both
spices, so next time I may add 8-10 whole cloves and 5-6 sticks of cinnamon...

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Combine the piloncillo, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks with 4 1/2 cups of water in a
medium pot, cover, and bring to a boil.

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Once the piloncillo has disolved and the syrup reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20
minutes. Be sure to uncover the syrup or it won't reduce and you'll end up with too much syrup.
After 20 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and let the syrup steep for 2 hours.

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The final syrup will be dark in color - and SOOO fragrant! Your whole house will smell like
cloves and cinnamon...

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Strain the syrup through a sieve to remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks. I strained mine into
a heat-proof measure with spouts of easier pouring later... 

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While the syrup steeps, you will have plenty of time to prepare the toasted bread and grated
cheese for assembling the rest of the capriotada. According to the cookbook recipe, you will
need 4 bolillo or French rolls. Here is where I deviated from the original recipe - I used my
own homemade baguettes - I used about 2 1/2 homemade baguettes, but I plan to increase this
number the next time I make the recipe as there was a little too much syrup for the amount of
bread I used. Preheat oven to 350F (I plan to preheat my to 375F next time)

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Slice the bread rolls into 1/2 inch slices

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Butter both sides of each slice

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And place slices on a large baking sheet. I used a half sheet pan and crammed as many pieces
on the sheet as I could.

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Place the sheet of bread in the oven and toast for 8-12 minutes, turning the pieces of bread
every 3-4 minutes. Keep toasting until the bread is dry and lightly golden.

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The bread is toasted when it's lightly golden as shown. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack
to cool while you grate the cheese (otherwise the bottoms of the bread may become soggy)

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For the cheese, select a longhorn style colby or cheddar cheese.

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You will need roughly 3 cups of grated cheese

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You will also need 1 cup of raisins

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Once the syrup has finished steeping, you're ready to begin assembling the capriotada. Make
sure your oven is preheated (I found I needed my oven to be preheated to 375F). To build the
capriotada, layer 1/3 of the bread slices in the bottom of a greased 8 x 10 1/2 inch baking
 dish (I used a 7 x 12 inch baking dish).

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Sprinkle 1/3 of the raisin and grated cheese evenly over the slices of bread

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Then pour 1/3 of the syrup over everything. Allow the bread to rest and soak up the syrup
for 15 minutes before proceeding with the next layer. After layering another 1/3 of the toasted
bread, cheese, raisins and syrup, allow everything to rest another 15 minutes before adding
the final layer. After adding the final layer of remaining bread, cheese, raisins and remaining
syrup, again allow everything to rest 15 minutes.

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The the final layered capriotada has rested for 15 minutes, you're ready to bake.

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Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray

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Cover the capriotada with the aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.

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After baking 40 minutes, remove the foil - the capriotada should be puffed and melty. Return
to the oven uncovered and bake for another 10 minutes until crusty and browned.

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Capriotada - fragrant, cheesy, and ready for scarfing...

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I found I enjoyed this bread pudding most when fresh from the oven and still a bit crusty on
top with chewy little raisins. You can reheat this the next day, but it's not the same.

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The spice from the cloves and cinnamon, the sweetness from the piloncillo, the crustiness
from the colby cheese and bread - this is a truly rich and comforting bread pudding. One piece?
I think not. 


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • Unlike some bread puddings which taste mostly like bread soaked in milk and then baked into a soupy custard, this capriotada is marvelously flavorful from the cinnamon, cloves, piloncillo and raisins. Which is a good thing because neither Boyfriend Javelin or myself like bland flavors or soupy custards.
     
  • My capriotada turned out a little too soggy for my taste - so when I make this again, I plan to use more toasted bread. I used about 2 1/2 of my homemade baguettes, but next time I will use 3 1/2 to 4 baguettes. That would equate to roughly 1 1/2 half-sheet pans of 1/2-inch slices of baguette or 1 full half-sheet pan of thickly sliced baguette pieces.
     
  • The original recipe indicates a baking temperature of 350F - I suspect my oven runs a bit cool as I needed to increase the temperature to 375F. I recommend checking the capriotada half-way through baking and adjusting the oven temperature if necessary.
     
  • Really, REALLY try to find piloncillo! Although you can use brown sugar, piloncillo has a particularly distinctive flavor. I found piloncillo at my local grocery store in the specialty food section, but you may also find this in the ethnic food section of a large grocery store.

24 comments:

  1. I was so tempted to make this bread pudding recipe but decided to save it for a family brunch and went with the mushroom salsa instead. The combination of sweet syrup and cheese is irresistible. I would be the person picking off all the crispy pieces of toasted bread on top. Your photos are mouth watering.

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  2. Hi Mark,
    Your post on the Bread Pudding is great! We just loved the Bread Pudding and took us back to our youth and very special events. This is a beautiful Cookbook! Hope you have a great week and looking forward to your next post.
    Miz Helen

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  3. Karen @ Savoury TableSeptember 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Which recipe to make was such a hard decision for me. In the end the salsa won out for me and I couldn't wait to see someone make and review the pudding. Your photos are great. I can't wait to see your next recipe.

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  4. I love that you chose to do this capirotada for your Tuesday Tutor series this week, what a fabulous idea. It looks like it turned out so incredibly tasty. I will be making a dish of it as soon as I get back to the states!!

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  5. I was starting to wonder if anyone would make the bread pudding! The top looks wonderful!

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  6. Your step-by-step photos just draw me right in and all I want at the end of everything is my own taste. I am so very curious how the cheese and bread and syrup come together and your post just makes me want to try it even more. I have earmarked this page too in a long list of many.

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  7. Those toasted bits on top really were the best part for me. And the little raisins soaked in syrup! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and I still want to make that mushroom salsa...

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  8. Thanks Miz Helen, and I'm so glad I had an opportunity to take part in the Muy Bueno Spotlight and Cook-Off because I've had a great time reading the book and having an excuse to try new recipes like this Capriotada...

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  9. Thanks for dropping by, Karen, and it was a tough choice. It had been a long time since I'd tried a bread pudding and the flavors sounded so good, I had to give it a go...

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  10. Wow, this is terrific! You've really taken bread pudding to another level. The inclusion of cheese intrigues me - I could see actually taking this is a savory direction. Good stuff - thanks.

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  11. mjskit @ mjskitchen.comSeptember 19, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful dessert! I do love bread pudding so I know that I would love, love, love this dish! The cheese makes it extra special!

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  12. It looks wonderful! I'll be making mine tomorrow (no time last weekend). I can't wait to taste it. I keep hearing nothing but great things on the flavor. I agree with you on the typical bread pudding custard-ish stuff. Happy to know its not like that :)

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  13. great step by step photos! thanks for sharing the great recipe!

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  14. Never heard of this before ... It looks scrumptious :-)

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  15. This looks yummy. Syrup sounds delicious Surprised to see shredded cheese here, interesting flavors.
    I love bread pudding.

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  16. I hope you had a great trip, Heather, and hope the capriotada turns out delicious for you. You may need a slightly hotter oven than the recipe indicates to avoid too much mushiness at the bottom...

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  17. Thank you for the kind words and I'm so glad you enjoyed. The top layer really was my favorite part ;)

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  18. I'm so glad you were intrigued by the capriotada and if you enjoy bread pudding, definitely give this a try. The syrup is amazing and the sweet/salty combination with the cheese is quite tasty...

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  19. Thanks, John - the real credit goes to the 3 ladies from Muy Bueno Cookbook. I never would have thought to combine all these flavors and elements together on my own ;)

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  20. I think my favorite part was the syrup soaked raisins ;) The bread in mine got a little too mushy for my taste, so I plan to use more bread or less syrup next time. I'm so glad you enjoyed and I'm still trying to catch up on everything after a week of vacation in Outer Banks...

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  21. I hope you enjoyed it when you made it - the flavors really are so much different and cheese adds a completely different textural element to the topping... Thanks so much for your kind words...

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  22. Thanks Averie - I'm so glad you enjoyed the capriotada!

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  23. It was new to me as well, CJ - and a happy introduction too ;)

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  24. The cheese surprised me a little as well at first, but after sampling the crusty topping with the sweetness paired with saltiness, it all made sense :) I'm glad you enjoyed, Haniela...

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