Capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding)

Capirotada

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  • Total: 100 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 80 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
  • Yield: 1 pan
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
546 Calories
23g Fat
74g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 546
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 137mg 46%
Sodium 224mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 74g 27%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Protein 19g
Calcium 269mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Capirotada is a Mexican bread pudding often prepared for Lent. Traditionally there are two types of capirotada. Capirotada de agua is water-based while capirotada de leche is milk-based. The water-based version, like this recipe, is baked in a syrup made with piloncillo. Piloncillo is a raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. If you have trouble finding these cone-shaped sweeteners, 2 cups of packed brown sugar can be substituted in this recipe. The rich syrup made from the piloncillo is flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and cloves.

When it comes to layering the flavors in this dish, there are many options. Most capirotadas include peanuts and raisins. Frequently, fresh fruit such as orange, banana, plantain, or guava is also incorporated. Finally, there is always some sort of cheese layered within the toasted bread, nuts, and fruit. This recipe follows what is common in Michoacán, where they tend to sprinkle crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco.

Finally, the completed dish can be garnished with a dusting of powdered sugar before serving. Many families also like to add some colorful nonpareil sprinkles for added festive flair.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
  • 5 to 6 bolillos (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 pound piloncillo (grated)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dark raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 3 large bananas (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices)
  • 1 to 2 large ripe mangoes (peeled and diced; about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup queso fresco (crumbled)
  • 2/3 cup peanuts (dry roasted)
  • Garnish: Powdered sugar or nonpareil sprinkles

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Capirotada ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  2. Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Spread the bread cubes in an even layer on two large baking sheets and drizzle with the melted butter. Toss to coat.

    Toast the bread cubes in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

    Bread cubes on baking sheets with melted butter in a bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  3. While the bread toasts, grate the piloncillo.

    Piloncillo grated on a cutting board
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  4. In a large saucepan, combine the grated piloncillo with the water, raisins, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise. Heat over medium-high heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until reduced by half.

    Spices and water in a saucepan
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  5. Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and cloves. Set the piloncillo syrup aside to cool.

    Hot syrup in a saucepan with spices removed
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  6. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add a third of the toasted bread to make the first layer covering the bottom of the baking dish.

    Layer of toasted bread in a casserole dish
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  7. Distribute half of the bananas, half of the diced mango, half of the queso fresco, and half of the peanuts over the bread layer.

    Bread in a casserole dish topped with fruit, cheese, and nuts
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  8. Pour on about a third of the piloncillo syrup.

    Bread and fruit in a casserole dish topped with syrup
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  9. Start another layer, adding a third of the bread and the remaining half of the bananas, mango, queso fresco, and peanuts. Pour on another third of the syrup.

    Second layer of bread, fruit, nuts, and cheese in a casserole dish
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  10. Finally, cover with the remaining third of the bread and pour the rest of the syrup on top.

    Unbaked capirotada
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  11. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake the capirotada in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes remove it from the oven, carefully uncover, and press down with a spatula to make sure the syrup saturates all of the bread. 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.

    Capirotada covered in aluminum foil
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  12. Cool slightly before serving. Dust the top with powdered sugar and garnish with non-pareil sprinkles, if desired.

    Capirotada with powdered sugar on top
    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni