There are 2 major holidays in Spain and they both have roots in Catholicism. Christmas is the first. Easter, or pascua, is the second. The week leading up to Easter is a holy week known as semana santa. During this time, many traditions are observed such as no meat on Fridays, the final week of Lent, and a variety of traditional foods are eaten.
Torrijas is very popular during this time. It is much like French toast and usually fried in olive oil. However, for this recipe I have lightened it up by using vegetable oil.
Start with dried, couple day old bread. I never have that in my house so I improvise a bit by putting my bread in the oven at 225º for about 15-20 minutes. This dries it out a bit which works better when soaking the bread.
The flavours of the bread come from 2 places: the milk in which the bread is soaked and the toppings. In some parts of Spain torrijas is actually called pan de leche or milk bread so it makes sense that the milk component is an important part of the recipe. To make the milk use 1.5 C of milk per 8 slices of bread. Vanilla, a bit of sugar and a bit of cinnamon are added. You may add some orange peel to flavour the milk or, I have some orange oil extract in my cupboard so I use that instead. I really enjoy the taste of orange, vanilla and cinnamon.
Pour 1/2 the milk mixture over the bread and let it soak. Pour around the edges and not the centre to try and avoid a soggy centre when they are cooked. By the time you are done pouring, the bread has likely absorbed the milk and is ready to turn over. You can then do the same to the other side of the bread with the remaining milk. Remove the bread from the tray and any excess milk.
When you are ready to fry them (which should be done fairly quickly after soaking), heat vegetable oil in a pan. Beat 2 eggs and set it aside on a plate. Before frying the bread, quickly coat the slice in the egg.
The oil should be heated at medium heat and as such, the bread will need to be fried for about 2 minutes each side.
When the bread is finished, set it on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
These are often sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and then served but there are all kinds of variations. I enjoy offering choices at my table so I place maple syrup, cinnamon sugar and sometimes jam on the side as options.
1.5 C milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange oil extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
8 dried bread slices
vegetable oil (for frying)
1. Combine milk, vanilla, orange, sugar, and cinnamon.
2. Spread bread on a tray with an edge.
3. Pour 1/2 of the warmed milk mixture over the edges of the bread.
4. Flip the bread and pour the rest of the milk mixture just until moist.
5. Once the bread is wet, remove from the tray.
6. On a separate plate, beat the eggs.
7. Heat the oil in a large pan for frying.
8. Coat the moistened bread in egg and add to oil.
9. Fry each side until golden brown (approximately 2 minutes).
10. Flip the bread and repeat the frying time on the other side.
11. Set fried torrija bread onto a plate with paper towel.
12. Repeat for all slices of bread.
*Serve while hot. If reheating, continue with the following:
13. Place on a tray.
14. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.
15. Flip bread and bake for 10 more minutes.
16. Serve with cinnamon sugar, jam, or maple syrup.
Protein 6.1 g