Saturday, April 16, 2011


Torrijas are cinnamon-scented slices of fried bread.
This week all the local bread and pastry shops display trays of sugared or honeyed slices of fried bread dusted with cinnamon called torrijas. Torrijas are somewhat like “French toast,” but in Spain they are served as dessert or snack, not breakfast.

In Andalusia and La Mancha, torrijas are absolutely essential during Holy Week and Easter holidays. I have wondered if—in these lands where 600 years ago Christians and Jews lived together as neighbors—this custom derives from the Jewish tradition of using up all of the hametz, or leavened bread, before Passover—the springtime festival that coincides with Holy Week. Possibly conversos—converts to Christianity—brought with them to a new religion some of the customs of the former.

In any case, torrijas bring such a welcome sweetness to the austerity of Lenten foods.

The basic preparation: dip or soak thick slices of stale bread in sweetened milk, wine syrup or sweet wine, then into beaten egg. No, don’t mix the milk and egg together. Fry them in olive oil until golden. Sprinkle with sugar or drizzle with honey boiled with a little water. Sprinkle with lots of cinnamon. Serve at room temperature.

Sweet Toasts

Serves 6.

Stale bread, eggs, milk and cinnamon
12 (3/4-inch thick) slices stale bread
2 cups + 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 strip lemon peel
1 stick cinnamon
2 eggs
olive oil for frying
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar or 2 tablespoons
   honey boiled with 1 tablespoon

Place the slices of bread in one layer in a shallow pan.

In a saucepan heat 2 cups of milk with 1/2 cup sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon stick until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the milk.

 Pour the milk over the bread and allow to set until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Beat the eggs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Place eggs in a shallow bowl. Heat enough oil in a large, heavy skillet to completely cover the bottom. Dip the slices of bread into the egg on both sides. Fry them until browned on both sides. Remove to a platter. Add additional oil to the skillet as needed and continue frying the remaining slices of bread.

When all the bread slices are fried, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar or drizzle with boiled honey. Serve the toasts at room temperature.


  1. I just spoke with a friend who is living in El Puerto Santa Maria for 6 months & she loves her "croissant" in the evening. I'll send this recipe to her.

    Mary Ann
    Thousand Oaks, CA

  2. My basic arftchoke recipe I learned from Pepa.....way back in Fuengirola (1959---60 )....It, too, is VERY EASY & simple
    I´ll tell you about it when I see you.....

    XXXX C