In Guatemala there are many dishes that are traditionally made for the Día de los Muertos celebrations, one of my favorite is the molletes. Very different from the Mexican molletes, Guatemalan molletes are similar to French toast. They are stuffed with custard and accompanied with syrup made with panela or raw sugar and rum. However, you can leave the rum out for a kid-friendly version. Molletes and torrejas are sometimes used interchangeably but they are different dishes as the torrejas are not stuffed.
For my family, as well as for many other Latino families living in the United States, sharing traditional dishes like the molletes truly brings us together and makes us feel closer not only to our country, Guatemala, but also to our family there. When I remember my family or think about my country, one of the first things that come to mind is food, because food is not only tied to traditions but also to memories, to family, to culture and to your own identity. I am hopeful that food will help me keep my culture alive in my children and will preserve our beautiful traditions like remembering our loved ones that have passed away.
I had never made molletes or torrejas until I moved to the United States and I was really surprised at how easy they where to make, even though they do take a little time. As all the family was gathered together in the kitchen making them I told my kids stories of my grandmother who passed away and how her molletes where so delicious. We talked about traditions in Guatemala and about our family there. The kids loved hearing all about Guatemala, about their great grandparents and enjoyed helping out and eating all the manjar that was left over
Ingredients for Molletes
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 10 small molletes (lard or sweet bread rolls, you can find them in Latino food stores)
- 2 cups of vegetable oil
- ¼ cup raisins
- red sugar for garnish
Ingredients for Custard or Manjar
- 2 ¼ cups of whole milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Ingredients for Syrup
- 2 cup panela or raw sugar
- 3 cups of water
- ½ cup rum
- zest from one lime
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- In a sauce pan over medium heat bring 2 cups of milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt to a boil.
- While milk is heating up mix together cornstarch and ¼ cup cold milk in a bowl.
- Once milk has reached the boiling point reduce heat.
- Take ½ cup of the hot milk and add to the cornstarch, mixing well.
- Pour cornstarch and milk mix back into saucepan and heat stirring constantly until custard thickens.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla mixing well.
- Let cool.
- To make the syrup place the panela or raw sugar, water, lime zest, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick and rum in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat.
- While the syrup is heating up cut off the top of each of the molletes (rolls).
- Remove some of the bread creating a cavity in the center of each mollete.
- Place 3-4 raisins inside each mollete .
- Fill with custard and place the lid on, pressing lightly to close it .
- Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Add the yolks, flour and sugar and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Heat up the oil in a large pan.
- Dip the stuffed molletes into the egg mixture and carefully place in hot oil.
- Fry for a minute or less on each side until golden.
- Remove from pan and place on a colander, place colander over sink and pour boiling water over them.
- Pat them dry to remove excess water.
- Place the molletes in the syrup and cook over low heat until they are soft.
- Serve warm or cold.