Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recipe: Capirotada

During Holy Week in México, where the majority of the people are Catholic, the people make a dish called capirotada. The traditional recipe is a bread pudding. The bread contains piloncillo (a Mexican brown sugar), syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts, coconut, raisins, carrots, potatoes, strings of cheese, and pan mojado (bits of bread soaked in milk). The first time I saw it, I thought it was roast beef. Talk about disappointing! It's the only food I ever had while on my mission [1] that was so gross that I rolled it up in my napkin and stuck it in my pocket when the cook wasn't looking.[2] However, I was also introduced to a version of capirotada that was quite tasty and pleasant to eat. Last week my lab had a party. We were asked to bring a dessert. Leann usually takes charge because she doesn't want me to bring a package of Double-Stuf Oreos. Leann was out of town for work, so I was in charge of the dessert. I decided to make this instead of buying those Oreos. Boy was she surprised!

  • 6–8 firm bananas cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 packages of Galletas Marías [3]
  • 1 1.6-oz package strawberry-flavored Maizena [4]
  • 5 cups milk
  • ¼ cup sugar 
  • Optional: peanuts, raisins, and/or coconut


Stir the Maizena into one cup of cold milk.

Bring the remaining four cups of milk to a boil [5] and then add the remaining cup with the Maizena. Boil for two minutes then remove from heat. Add the sugar and stir in thoroughly. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place a layer of Galletas Marías on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Then add a layer of banana slices. Do this two more times and then finish with another layer of Galletas Marías.[6] If you choose to include peanuts, raisins, and/or coconut, include them as additional layers.

When the Maizena has cooled, pour it over the Galletas Marías and bananas. Refrigerate until the Maizena has gelled.[7]

At this point you can cut out squares and they'll hold their shape (more or less).


[1] For those who are unsure why Latter-day Saints (Mormons) go on missions, I recommend you visit here and here, where you can learn more about LDS beliefs concerning sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you have more questions, ask and maybe I'll do a full post on the topic.

[2] To give you an idea of how bad I thought capirotada was, here is a list of unpleasant things I choked down instead of hiding them in my pocket: chicharrones (deep-fried pig skin), menudo (cow stomach soup), mangonadas (mango-flavored popsicles covered in chili powder), beet purée (for dessert), nogales (boiled prickly pear cactus), etc. I once even drank a glass of water that had a dead spider floating in it.

[3] These can usually be found in the Latin Foods aisle at the grocery store. The Spanish word galletas means "cookies". Leann says they taste like animal crackers, so those might make a good substitute.

[4] Maizena is a brand name of a Mexican corn-flour drink, called atole. Besides strawberry, it also comes in coconut, vanilla, nut, and chocolate flavors (though chocolate atole is technically called champurrado). It is also found in the Latin Foods aisle at the grocery store. I am unaware of anything that could be used as a substitute.

[5] Do this at medium-low temperature, stirring constantly. It will take longer, but you're less likely to burn the milk that way.

[6] If you were confused by the way I said that, it should be, from bottom to top: Galletas Marías, then bananas, then Galletas Marías, then bananas, then Galletas Marías, then bananas, then Galletas Marías.

[7] I do it overnight, but it probably needs less time than that.


  1. Maybe I'd have to taste it to fully appreciate your disgust, but I have a hard time believing that it's worse than swallowing a dead spider.

  2. I didn't have to taste the spider.

  3. I tasted this when i was a kid, but she would make it with vanilla atole

  4. theres a million ways to make capirotadas !