Today i am going to talk about a sweet dessert i really love but not many people know about it. Do you know what Torrejas are or you don’t? Well… if you don’t just keep reading and you will discover it soon!
What are Torrejas?
Torrejas are generally referred to as Salvadoran cousins of French toast or Spanish torrejas. They are also found in other regions of Latin America either with the same name or a slight twist of the name. Torrejas are usually eaten during the holy week of Easter, also known as semana Santa. Combined with chickpeas and cod, they are an iconic dish during this time of the year.
Torrejas are always accompanied by a sweet syrup which sometimes contains liquor. This piece of bread is soaked in milk, syrup, and wine sometimes. You can also use brioche though it does not keep very well and so cannot be used for leftovers. In El Salvador, torrejas are often accompanied by a hot drink known as chilate.
How to Make Torrejas
The torrejas are usually prepared using an egg brioche known as torta de yema, which is stale for one or two days. Cinnamon, which is an indispensable ingredient is added to the already hot milk. Eggs are separated, the egg white beaten and the yolks mixed in with the flour.
The brioche is then soaked in these different mixtures before frying in margarine or oil. The brioche normally comes out a perfect golden brown. Next, panela syrup and sugarcane juice are separately cooked at a high temperature to produce a kind of molasses also known as rapadura. Spices such as ginger powder, nutmeg, black pepper, and more cinnamon are added to the syrup.
Everything is then diluted in a little water and heated till you obtain a thick syrup that has a nice golden brown color. The slices of brioche are drizzled with syrup before they can be enjoyed hot or cold.
As the season of Lent on the Christian calendar was nearing, many observant Christians would give up such delicacies as meat, eggs, fats, and dairy products as they considered them as an indulgence.
In making sure that no food was wasted, they emptied their pantries on the days leading to Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) they even went ahead to have a feast the day before, which was known as Shrove Tuesday which got its name from the ancient ritual of shriving (confessing one’s sins to a priest to obtain sacramental forgiveness).
Since Lent went on for forty days, that food that wouldn’t last that long without going bad was all eaten up and identified as a reward after the trial of being shriven.
Thus, foods like pancakes, King cakes, and other confectionery became associated with Shrove Tuesday as they could use up all the eggs, milk, and fats in the house by simply adding ingredients such as flour.
The Torrejas were prepared by mixing milk, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl then placing slices of bread in the bowl on a single layer and allowing the slices to soak for about 2 minutes before flipping them.
Meanwhile, the egg whites were beaten in a bowl until firm and fluffy, then the yolks were added while folding them with a spatula.
Then, in a large frying pan, the oil was heated up at high, and when hot the slices of bread were dipped one by one in the egg batter and handled with a lot of care as they were fragile from soaking in milk.
The slices were then transferred to the pan to fry flipping them once they were golden brown allowing them to cook and brown on the other side. Then they were removed from the oil into a colander fitted with a paper towel to suck up the extra oil.
They were then served hot sprinkling them with sugar and cinnamon and syrup on the side.
- The two stages of the dipping technique give the torrejas a creamy texture inside and a light crispy coating thus no worrying that the egg may be undercooked at the center of the bread.
- Though many Christians in Mexico to date give up some food during Lent, this observance has narrowed to Fridays only. In this case, these sumptuous torrejas may stay all year round on the table to enchant the whole family.
Torrejas Venezuela is an exquisite dish made from wheat flour, sugar, and water. Although this dessert is an inheritance from the European continent, the Venezuelan version has become a tradition of enchanting flavor.
The main difference between this Venezuelan dessert from the rest of the others from other regions is that, instead of using bread, it is made by mixing wheat flour, water, sugar, and other ingredients (as mentioned below)to make a smooth dough which is then rolled and cut to desired shapes before being fried. It is also not dipped in syrup.
To make this captivating dessert, you will need:
- 1 cup of cold water
- cups of wheat flour (you can also use cassava or soy flour)
- 3 tbs melted butter(you can substitute it with vegetable oil or margarine)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Sugar (you can use honey instead)
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- Sift and then mix flour, sugar baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- Add butter or oil, eggs then knead briefly to mix all the ingredients well.
- Add water little by little and knead until you have a smooth dough.
- Knead for a few more minutes and let the dough sit for about 30 minutes as this will help make it easier to handle afterward.
- Dust some flour on a flat surface and place your dough and roll it out with a rolling pin to a uniform thickness.
- Cut the tolled hot dough into triangular, circular, or any other shape you prefer. You can also divide the dough into individual portions and stretch it with your hands till you get the desired thickness.
- Fry these in hot oil till they are golden brown then remove and sprinkle with sugar.
Your Torrejas are ready to be enjoyed alone or accompanied by other ingredients that serve to decorate them.
What is different in Cuban Torrejas in syrup? Well… These torrejas are easy to prepare and do not consume a lot of time. The main difference that distinguishes this Cuban Torrejas from the rest is that there is nothing French about this Cuban sweet toast. Also, no flour is needed to prepare it.
Guatemalan Torrejas are sweet bread or brioche soaked in either milk or egg mixture before being fried in oil. They are often referred to as Guatemalan french toast. They are then bathed in a sweet syrup made from boiling water, honey, or sugar, and spices into a golden brown sauce. The soaked bread has a delicious texture and is present throughout the whole world and was introduced into Latin America by the Spanish.
This typical Guatemala dessert is very popular during Christmas and Lent. There are a dozen and one different version of the Guatemalan recipe for Torrejas, however, most of them are the Latin American version of the French toast. These Guatemalan Torrejas are mouth-watering desserts if you are craving something sweet. They are commonly found in almost all fairs and are most popular during Christmas and Easter holidays.
How to make Guatemalan Torrejas
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 10 slices of bread (lard, sweet, or brioche bread)
- 2 tbsp of flour
Ingredients for the syrup
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lb sugar
- 4 ounces of prune
- Zest from one orange
- 3 cups of water
- 2 ounces of raisin
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- Beat the eggs till they form stiff peaks. Add the flour and mix it in very carefully. Pass your bread through the egg mixture until they are completely covered.
- Heat your oil and fry the bread in the hot oil, making sure to turn them around once to cook well on both sides.
- Next place the fried bread in a colander and pour hot water over then let them drain so that the bread does not become too greasy.
- To make the syrup, bring water to a boil in a large pot, and add the sugar, cloves, cinnamon, orange zest, and allspice till a thin syrup is obtained (boil for about 15 to 20 minutes). Finally, add the prunes and raisins.
- Place the torrejas in the syrup and let them soak for a couple of minutes (about 5 mins).
- Serve either cold or hot with a prune in the center and sprinkle with sugar to make it more appealing and delicious!
What to serve with the traditional Guatemalan Torrejas
- You can make Guatemalan enchiladas to go with the Torrejas since the crunchiness of the tortilla topped with escabeche and ground beef goes great with the sweetness of the bread.
- You can also make one of your favorite recipes since this versatile dessert doesn’t have an overpowering taste. Also, with its delightful texture and sugary taste, everyone in your family will love them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Other Popular Articles About Authentic South American Food
go back to South American Cuisine