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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Sweet Passion 
22nd-Mar-2008 04:22 pm
Let me see..

Forget chocolate eggs and jelly beans. The time-honored way to celebrate Easter in Madrid is with torrijas.

You might call it french toast, but in Madrid they don't, if only because of a lingering resentment of the French involving an invasion by Napoleon two hundred years ago. Instead they call it "little toasts," which is what torrijas means, although they're not little.

Here's the recipe: Take big, thick slices of day-old bread. Soak them for a few hours in sweetened milk (the most common variation), or sweet wine, or sugar water if you're too poor to afford milk (as was the case just after the Civil War). Dip them in beaten egg. Deep-fry them. Then sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, and if you wish, put syrup on them, too.

Fattening? You bet. They plumped up Queen Isabel II (1843-1868). Her mistake was to eat them year-round.

Most people buy torrijas ready-made in bakeries for about 2.20€ (US$3) per slice, and about 3.5 million slices will be sold in Madrid during the holidays. Then, wisely, we'll have to wait for a year to enjoy them again.

22nd-Mar-2008 03:28 pm (UTC)

I have this brain that tends to misinterpret what it sees so when I first saw your title, I thought it said "Sweet Potato." And then I read the recipe with interest to see how Spaniards might use a vegetable they didn't ordinarily grow.

It took me a while to figure out it wasn't sweet potato at all. But the misconception was fun while it lasted.

Deep-fried french toast? Wow. Super fattening. And I've never tried making it that sweet, either.
22nd-Mar-2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
Spain has sweet potatoes -- an import, but they grow here just fine, as do kiwis and avocados. Sweet potatoes are often eaten roasted. The little stands on street corners that roast and sell chestnuts over a charcoal fire in fall and winter also sell roasted sweet potatoes. They are also served pureed, or as pudding in a recipe that is an awfully lot like pumpkin pie filling.

As for torrijas, yes, they are sweet -- so sweet they make my teeth hurt. But I eat them anyway.
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