Torrijas for Caleb via Milagros

I’d not cooked torrijas (luxury French toast, but from Spain) for nearly a quarter of a century but was reminded of them at a recent dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I was taught how to make them by Milagros, my little old lady neighbour from Calle Cervantes in Zaragoza, northern Spain – a kindly dueña who took a shine to her rowdy English student neighbours.

caleb_stand
Yogi Caleb, exercising more balance in an instant than I have in a lifetime

Caleb is like my partner Jarod – his job is to bring out the best in people and both do so with amazing results from their studio in West London. These pics show Caleb in his new guise as yogi master, bringing inner peace to chaotic Londoners.

Let’s be frank, two pics of Caleb as he is now are better than two of me from the early ’90s. If you go no further with this recipe and get hooked on the images… I fully understand. Enjoy whichever path you take…

Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Elegibo’ (Uma història de ifà)”- Relight Orchestra & DJ Andrea

Ingredients

  • 1 milk loaf (this is a loaf like a shrunken bloomer – you can use other loaves but this loaf’s size and all-round crust helps it keep shape)
  • 750ml full fat milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil

Topping

  • Mix together 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 2 dessertspoons caster sugar

Method

  1. Trim the ends of the loaf, and cut into inch-thick slices and arrange in a dish.
  2. Heat the milk, honey, cinnamon stick and teaspoon of ground cinnamon till boiling point. Remove from heat, cover and let the flavours steep for 15 mins.
  3. Remove the stick, pour the liquid over the bread, cover and leave for one hour.
  4. Beat your eggs in a plate.
  5. In a large pan, heat a half centimetre of your vegetable oil over a medium heat – these toasts catch easily so don’t be tempted to whack up the heat.
  6. Once hot, coat the slices of the milk-soaked bread in egg and then fry for 3-4 mins on each side. The bread is going to be soggy and susceptible to breaking so the best way to transfer from dish to egg to pan is with a wide-edged spatula.
  7. Fry in batches of 2-3, depending on the size of your pan.
  8. Once golden brown on both sides transfer to a wire cooling rack topped with kitchen paper to soak up the excess grease.
  9. Serve warm or cold (never straight from the pan) sprinkled with some of your cinnamon sugar.

Serve with dark and unctuous Solera 1847, Oloroso Dulce

Torrijas in 3 images

milk_torrijas
Milk mix on the heat and sliced milk loaf ready to be soaked. You can see the size and thickness of the bread you’ll need
frying_torrijas
Torrijas frying after the first flip – see the amount of oil – not too much
finished_torrijas
Drained, cooled and ready to sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar – you can drizzle with syrup (maple or golden) if sugar isn’t your thing

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