This dish brings together some rather unexpected flavors into a sweet, salty and fruity dish perfect for breakfast, brunch or large-batch family coooking. Pati Jinich shared it along with many wonderful cooking ideas when she joined us to answer questions from our listeners. Listen to full episode here.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
5 to 6 bolillos, teleras or Portuguese buns, or 1 large baguette cut into 1-inch slices
1 pound piloncillo, grated, or substitute for 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 stick canela, ceylon or true cinnamon
1 whole star anise
3 whole cloves
1/4 cup raisins
2 quarts (or 8 cups) water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices (about 3 cups)
1 to 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup finely crumbled or grated queso Cotija
2/3 cups roasted peanuts
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
VIDEO: Pati Jinich tells us more about the importance of traditional capirotada
Place racks on upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small pan. Brush the surface of two large baking sheets with some of the melted butter and place the bread slices onto the buttered baking sheets in a single layer. Use the remaining butter to brush on top of the bread slices. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on the bottom and remove from the oven.
In a medium saucepan, place the piloncillo, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and raisins, cover with the 8 cups of water, and set over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a simmer, stir occasionally, and let simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced by half. Turn off the heat. With a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and, cloves and discard. Set the piloncillo syrup aside.
Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil to a large saute pan set over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, cook the plantain slices in a couple batches for about a minute per side, or until golden brown on both sides. Place the browned plantains on a paper towel covered plate and set aside.
Use the remaining tablespoon of butter to grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add a third of the bread to make the first layer covering the bottom of the baking dish. Distribute all around half of the plantains, half of the mango, half of the Cotija, and half of the peanuts. Pour on about a third of the piloncillo syrup. Start another layer, adding a third of the bread and the remaining half of the plantains, mango, Cotija, and peanuts. Pour another third of the syrup, trying to get all of the raisins in. Finally, cover with the remaining third of the bread and pour the rest of the syrup on top. Cover with aluminum foil.
Set oven rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the capirotada for 25 minutes, then remove it from the oven, carefully uncover, and press down with a spatula so it all bakes in the syrup. Cover again with aluminum foil and return to the oven. After another 25 minutes, carefully remove the foil, and bake for about 10 minutes more so the top browns. Cool slightly before serving and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
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