The capirotada, the Mexican Lenten dessert that evokes the family tradition

This content was published on April 09, 2022 – 14:54

Mariana Gonzalez-Marquez

Guadalajara (Mexico), Apr 9 (EFE).- Increasingly less frequent on Mexican tables, the capirota is the quintessential dessert of the Lenten season in this country, not only because of its variety of flavors and textures, but also because it evokes childhood and family tradition.

It is believed that the capirotada has its origins in Spain and that it was brought to Mexico after the conquest. The unique recipe was adapted with some of the ingredients of Mexican cuisine that transformed it from a savory and meaty dish to a dessert that is regularly served on Fridays during Lent or on holy days for the Catholic religion.

Trying the capirotada is sharing moments, it is -for Mexicans- going back to childhood and to the season of grandmothers.

Paloma Corral, a nutritionist and confectioner, told Efe that one of her favorite desserts is capirotada because, in addition to its flavor, it brings back memories of her grandmother and one of her aunts.

“It was a recipe that an aunt gave us and I also helped her prepare it, it was a tradition every Holy Week. It is a Mexican tradition that we love, trying the capirotada reminds me of her when she was a girl (little), my grandmother, my uncles and family gatherings, ”she said.

Juan Lozano owns a travel agency and was encouraged this year to prepare a family recipe for capirotada for the first time. Between pieces of bread and dried fruit, he told Efe that every Lent he does not miss the opportunity to try this dessert, although it is made by other hands.

“I leaned on recipes from colleagues who had prepared on occasion, but the main thing was that: go back a little bit to the past, to when I was a child and I started to put the raisins, and somehow try to take the procedure back then” he explained.

He assured that the greatest charm of this dessert is that everyone collaborates in its realization, although it is the mothers or grandmothers who give them that unique touch, even if the recipe is, in theory, the same as others.

“The theme of the capirotada with my grandparents and others was a family theme in which we all joined together, but beyond that is that mixture of flavors. In addition to preserving our roots, the sense of company, of sharing, when the grandmothers did it, it was an immense amount that was shared with the neighbors and that is the most important part, ”he pointed out.

variety of textures

The traditional recipe for the capirotada is based on pieces of bread dipped in piloncillo honey (panela), cloves, cinnamon, cheese and raisins. In some places they add finely chopped onion and tomato to this honey to intensify the flavor, there are those who put rompope (alcoholic drink similar to punch) and others a little cow’s milk.

The bread is placed in a pan and bathed in honey or syrup while countless ingredients are added: from the traditional raisins and melted cheese, to nuts, colored candies, pastry cream, pine nuts, dried fruit or even rum. .

It is said that the bread symbolizes the body of Christ and the honey his blood.

The result is an explosion of flavors and textures that go from salty to sweet or from soft to crunchy. That variety is, perhaps, one of the virtues of this dish that is usually accompanied by a glass of milk or a cup of strong coffee.

Elizabeth Alvarado is a young chef who wanted to innovate in the recipe for this dessert. Pineapple, caramel, milk and a bread made with piloncillo were the variants of its preparation that won one of the first places in a contest organized by the Villa Ganz boutique hotel in Guadalajara (western state of Jalisco), as a way of revive this tradition.

“It is a dessert full of moments, because it has many layers that make you like a ‘boom’ in your mouth. I was very inspired because you can put everything but in a different way (than the traditional one),” the chef told Efe.

Although it is less and less common in Mexican homes, the capirotada is still a relevant dessert at this time of year when gastronomy focuses on meatless dishes to keep the custom of Fridays in Lent.

“It’s not losing Mexican traditions and so that our children who are now small when they grow up also remember these flavors and share them with their loved ones,” said confectioner Paloma Corral. EFE


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