A Traditional Dessert For Lent: Capirotada {Recipe}

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Capirotada Recipe

Editor´s note: The following Capirotada recipe is a guest post from Sandra Perez-Ramirez, author of the blog Mamá

Ten years have elapsed since I came to the United States and I am amazed at how I can still saber in my palate the traditions of the food of my native Mexico, and especially, my grandmother’s delicious recipes which I prepare in her honor during Lent. This year has been very special, because for the first time in several years my mother came to stay with me and together we prepared a festival of flavors and aromas. Today I present to you a taste of her “Capirotada.”

Capirotada is the traditional dessert, similar to a warm bread pudding, that is prepared and served in Mexico during Lent, a season of special devotion in the traditions of catholic families. It is said that it originated in the Colony era in Mexico. My mother and some friends have told me that this delicious treat was created by nuns inside the convents of that era.

Traditional Capirotada Recipe


Capirotada Recipe

2 hard bolillo bread loaves (french bread)  in slices

3 whole piloncillo cones

150 grams of walnuts

50 grams of raisins

50 grams of sugar coated candy or alegría

50 grams of shredded coconut

50 grams of clove 9 (spice)

100 grams of shredded Monterrey Jack or Oaxaca cheese

1 whole orange (in slices)

1/2 cup oil

3 cinnamon sticks

5 tortillas


The original recipe states that in order to give the Capirotada that traditional flavor it should be elaborated in an earthen pot, but in this case I used a glass dish so it could retain its consistency.

Capirotada Recipe

It’s recommended to begin the night before by leaving the tortillas and bolillo bread in a plate outside. The next day fry the slices of bolillo bread in a frying pan on both sides and then lay them out in our glass dish. It is important to first lay the five tortillas on the bottom of the glass dish before adding the bolillo bread slices so these can absorb the grease.

Capirotada Recipe

While frying the bolillo bread, start preparing the piloncillo syrup on the side. Boil (low flame) a cup of water, the cinnamon sticks and the clove inside a pot. And towards the end, add the orange slices. You will see and smell the sweet flavor of the piloncillo which will fill your house with its aroma; which in my case brought me numerous memories of my native Mexico.

Capirotada Recipe

Finalize the preparation of the Capirotada by adding the alegría, cinnamon, raisins, shredded coconut, shredded cheese, walnut and our special piloncillo syrup over the bolillo bread slices. The last step is the most fun for me, because as a child I used to decorate the Capirotada and add all the final ingredients.

I sincerely hope you will enjoy preparing this Capirotada as much as I did, and that you will remember that the flavors of our traditions should always be served daily on our tables.

For a Spanish-language version of the recipe, please visit

Capirotada Recipe

Sandra Perez-Ramirez is a journalist with over ten years experience in Spanish newspapers in her native Mexico. She now divides her day as the mom of a 5 year old boy, a wife, a full time job and the Editor/Writer for Mamá Noticias, a Spanish language blog that provides current and interesting news for Latina moms & families.

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