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Capirotada 10-20-10

Capirotada 10-20-10

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Published by Pedro Arellano

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Categories:Types, Recipes/Menus
Published by: Pedro Arellano on Oct 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/24/2010

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Fall is easily my favorite season. I'm lucky enough to live in Wisconsin where weare blessed with four very distinct seasons. My neck of the woods explodes with reds,yellows and oranges. The beauty of it is truly awesome. The moon grows a halo and thenights force folks to cuddle. The chilled seek refuge from the cold in comfort foods:apple crisp, chocolate chip cookies, chicken pot pie, creamed soups, mulled cider, andthe list goes on.Let me introduce you to a new comfort food,
capirotada
. It's Mexico's uniquetake on bread pudding. There are a wonderfully preposterous amount of variations (moreon that later), but it is generally distinguished from its American counterpart by four major differences.1.It generally does not contain milk.2.It almost never includes eggs.3.It is made with Mexican (or Ceylon) cinnamon which is miles away from whatmost Americans know as cinnamon. The huge majority of what is sold in Americaas cinnamon is actually Cassia. I'm not going to bore you to death with a longdissertation on the difference between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. You'd fallasleep before I'd finish. Suffice it to say that they are radically different. Ceylon(Mexican) cinnamon is highly floral and deliciously different. You can find outmore about it at Penzeys Spices' websitehttp://www.penzeys.com/cgi- bin/penzeys/p-penzeyscinnamon.html 4.The last difference is the addition of, are you ready for this? Hold on. Before I tellyou, you need to open your mind. Take a second and open your mind. Okay, youready now?
Capirotada
has cheese in it. Give me a second here. “Your Honor, Iwould like to submit into evidence people's exhibit one--cheese danishes, and people's exhibit two--New England apple pie (which frequently contains cheddar cheese). Lastly Judge, I would like to submit exhibit three: CHEESECAKE! :-)Thank you your Honor.” :-)Okay, more on the variations. I know that all dishes have variations, but
capirotada
has
 
more than the average bear. In fact, I grew up thinking the word meant hodgepodge.People prepare it with a plethora of ingredients. So many that my grandfather Papa Julioonce told me you could even put bologna in it. You should have seen my face, four-year-old mouth wide open, in shock. I couldn't believe it. Turns out he was pulling my leg.He was quite amused. He said, “No mijo, I'm just kidding. You wouldn’t want to put bologna in it, but you could use pretty much anything else you wanted. People put
all 
kinds of things in
capirotada.
My papa Julio was a great cook so I'm going to go withwhat he said. Well you know, minus the bologna. Enough yapping. Let's get to therecipe.
Capirotada aka Mexican Bread Pudding Recipe:Ingredients:
Sufficient bread to fill a 13x9x2 baking pan, cubed2½ Cups Water 2 Cups light brown sugar 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks1 Teaspoon anise seed in a tea ball or wrapped tightly in a coffee filter.1 Cup total mix of raisins, currants and dried cherries plumped in triple sec or orange juice. (you should start plumping the dried fruit half hour or more before you planon making the capirotada)2 apples peeled, cored and chopped1 cup chopped pecans2 cups Mozzarella cheese
Directions:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Plump the raisins if you haven't started that already.To plump the raisins, place them in a clear measuring cup add triple sec or orange juice till it's ¾ covered in liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on highfor one minute. Let them sit preferably at least 30 minutes to get fat and happy.2.Toast the bread in the pan uncovered for 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven. Toss
 
it around a bit to make sure it is toasting evenly. Put it back in the oven and toastanother 10 minutes or until it is nice and happy (happy means it's nice and brown). Start making your syrup while the bread is in the oven.3.Add Water, and brown sugar into a saucepan, stir till the sugar is dissolved. Addthe cinnamon and optional anise seeds. Bring the syrup to a boil and then slow itdown to a nice slow simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Get ready to get impressed by the smell :-) Remove the cinnamon and anise seeds after ten minutes. Makesure there are not little slivers of cinnamon swimming around in the water. Btwthe cinnamon sticks can be used several times.4.In a large bowl, toss the toasted bread with the cinnamon syrup. Add the cheeseand pecans mix well till evenly distributed. DON'T worry if there is a lot of extrasyrup floating around. It will get absorbed by the bread and or evaporate in theoven.5.Place all the ingredients in a GREASED 13x9x2 baking pan (that is standard sized baking dish. I'm sure you have one in your kitchen) and bake for 20 minutes at350 degrees covered with aluminum foil. Make sure you spray the foil withvegetable oil or it will stick to the pudding. Remove the foil after the first 20minutes and bake another 15 minutes uncovered.6.You are done. Kick back and enjoy your capirotada. Speaking of 
YOUR,
check out the Make It Your Own section to truly make it your own.
Make It Your Own:
 
Variations-
 just remember, the better your ingredients the better your end product.1.Basically, you can use any bread you want to. Cinnamon raisin bread, sourdough,French bread, Italian bread, Whole Wheat (I like whole wheat). It's your kitchenuse what you like :-)2.You want to go totally authentic? Use 16 ounces
instead of the light brown sugar. You could also use dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar is actually

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