Oafter a recent trip to spain, i saw something called torrijas on the dessert menu. A quick Google told me to expect French toast, but what arrived couldn’t be further from what I imagined. The first surprise was that it was cold, and the second was a crunchy layer of caramelized sugar atop a pillowy, custardy interior infused with orange and cinnamon. Since then I’ve found that there are many regional variations, so this is my attempt at recreating the dish I tried that day.
Preparation 5 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
½bread white country bread
350 ml milk
100 ml whipped cream
Peel of 1 large orange
1 cinnamon stick
4 egg yolks
50 g caster sugarplus extra up
50 g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 160C (140C Fan)/325F/Gas Mark 3. Cut the bread into four slices about 4cm thick, cut off the crusts and cut each slice in half. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake, turning occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the slices are dry to the touch. Remove and let cool.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk, cream, orange zest and cinnamon stick until well heated, then remove from heat, cover and let steep for 20 minutes.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, then strain the warm milk into the egg mixture and beat again. Pour into a shallow bowl.
Dip a few slices of bread in the milk, flip them over so they soak evenly on both sides, and let them sit in the milk for five minutes. Transfer to a plate – be careful as they will be very soft and delicate – and repeat with the remaining bread and custard.
Place about a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, sprinkle a generous teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over it and bake the bread, two slices at a time, for five to six minutes, turning occasionally, until browned and caramelized.
If serving warm, sprinkle a little more caster sugar over the top of the bread slices, use a burner (or grill) to heat the sugar until it bubbles and caramelize, and serve with custard or ice cream. If you are refrigerating the torrijas, let them cool to room temperature and then refrigerate them until well chilled. Just before serving, sugar the tops and burner.