Spanish-style French toast, torrijas, is traditionally served during Easter, but there's really no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this tasty treat any time of year. Soft inside, crisp outside and gently and warmly flavored, it'll be love at first bite.
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French toast is one of those things that's so comforting and often a childhood favorite. However as an adult at least, I do find you can tell the difference between an OK slice and a really good one.
If you manage to spend just a little more time, with a couple more ingredients, you can make it that bit more special. And I don't even mean going fancier, though that can be good too, like the baked banana French toast or raspberry stuffed French toast I have made in the past.
For something so simple, it can have quite a few variations and this Spanish dish is just that. It doesn't use a huge list of extra ingredients, but the method is that bit different. And I have to say, I think better for it.
Unlike the most likely complaint you might have of a less-good French toast of being overly eggy and dense, that's far from the case here. Instead the middle is wonderfully soft and light, and it's all deliciously good.
How to make torrijas
As with many traditional recipes, there are various ways of making this - in fact some versions soak the bread in sweet wine, and toppings vary from honey to cinnamon sugar, as I have here. But the principle is much the same nonetheless. I've adapted from a couple recipes, including this one.
Unlike your more typical French toast, torrijas is made by infusing and sweetening milk which you then soak the bread in before dipping it in beaten egg. You don't mix the egg into the milk directly.
After the bread has soaked, dip it in egg before frying it in oil. The result is an incredibly soft filling with a gently crisp outside. If you've ever disliked French toast for being a bit too eggy, you won't have that complaint here.
One note on the bread - one thing that is consistent is that you should use slightly stale bread. In fact, the recipe was developed many centuries ago as a way to use up old bread. Even pretty hard works as I have tested out. In terms of what kind, white is probably best and not too dense nor too many holes.
I have made this with both baguette and slices of sourdough (though pieces without too many holes). We all preferred the baguette, so that is what I typically use now. You could also use other relative plain breads without too many air pockets in them.
This Spanish French toast went down really well in our house, including leftover eaten cold in the park. While torrijas are traditionally served for Easter, I think it definitely deserves a place on the table more often. Try and you will hopefully agree!
Looking for more tasty brunch ideas? Try these:
- Eggnog cinnamon rolls
- Breakfast strata with bacon and date
- Kaiserschmarrn (Austrian torn pancakes)
- Plus get more breakfast and brunch recipes in the archives.
Torrijas - Spanish French toast
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 strip orange zest
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 6 slices baguette more if thin, less if using larger-sliced bread, ideally a day or two old
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or more, as needed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Warm the milk with the cinnamon, orange strip and sugar in a small pan over a medium-low heat. Stir now and then to dissolve the sugar and bring it to just about simmering, then turn off the heat. Let it sit a minute to infuse while you slice the bread.
- Put the slices of bread in the bottom of a dish then pour over the warm milk. Leave it to absorb the milk, turning as needed.
- Whisk the egg in a dish big enough to fit a piece of bread in.
- Warm the oil in a medium-large skillet/frying pan over a medium-high heat. Gently press any excess milk out of the bread and then dip one slice at a time in the egg to coat then put into the pan. Fry up to 3 slices at a time, as fits, until golden brown on either side. Drain on kitchen paper once cooked to remove excess oil.
- Stir together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle some over the cooked torrijas to serve.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try some other French toast-like ideas:
- Berries and Cream Stuffed French Toast Croissants by Everyday Eileen
- Garlicky Chard-Stuffed French Toast by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Pizza Stuffed French Toast by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Rabanada (Brazilian French toast) by Palatable Pastime
- Savory French Toast Breakfast Sandwich by Amy's Cooking Adventures
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast by Cindy's Recipes and Writings