Crispy Spanish Torrijas

published Sep 2, 2021
Torrijas Recipe

Torrijas is French toast's rich, boozy cousin.

Serves4

Prep30 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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three torrijas (french toast)  on a gray, circular plate, with a silver spoon and three blackberries.
Credit: Perry Santanachote

Torrijas are a treat typically enjoyed in Spain during the Holy Week, or Semana Santa, before Easter. At first glance, you could easily mistake torrijas for French toast — they are fried slices of stale bread dipped in custard, after all — but there are a few distinctions that set torrijas apart. For one, there’s booze involved, which is probably why this dish is generally served as a dessert rather than your first meal of the day. But if you want yours alongside your morning coffee or a mimosa, we think that’s just fine, too.

What’s the Difference between French Toast and Torrijas?

With torrijas, the milk and eggs don’t combine into one mixture but are introduced in two separate stages. The Spanish dish also has the following ingredients that distinguish it from French toast:

  • Sherry-spiked milk
  • Orange or lemon zest
  • Honey or cinnamon-sugar (instead of maple syrup)
  • Olive oil for frying (not butter)

What’s the Best Bread to Use for Torrijas?

The Spanish generally use a crusty baguette for torrijas, but brioche or challah can be used, too. Just make sure it’s dried out. You’ll also want to reduce the soaking time by at least half so the slices don’t fall apart.

Credit: Perry Santanachote

Should I Use Day-Old Bread for Torrijas?

You want to use slightly stale baguette bread that can soak up the milk without falling apart. If you’re using a fresh loaf, dry out the slices in a 200°F oven for 30 minutes.

Torrijas Recipe

Torrijas is French toast's rich, boozy cousin.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium orange

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1 quart

    whole milk (4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1

    (3-inch) cinnamon stick

  • 1/3 cup

    dry sherry

  • 1

    (12-ounce) day-old baguette

  • 1 cup

    olive oil

  • 4

    large eggs

  • Honey, for serving

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium orange (about 2 teaspoons) and 1 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon) into a medium saucepan.

  2. Add 1 quart whole milk, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/3 cup dry sherry. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, cut 1 (12-ounce) day-old baguette crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices (about 16). Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Pour the milk mixture over the bread and let it soak for 5 minutes. Flip each slice of bread. Let the bread sit until it absorbs most of the liquid but isn't falling apart, about 5 minutes more.

  4. Heat 1 cup olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, whisk 4 eggs together in a medium bowl.

  5. Working with 1 slice at a time, dip the bread in the egg mixture to coat. Let the excess drip off, then add to the pan. Repeat with as many slices as needed until the pan is filled with a single layer. Fry until golden-brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the slices and fry until the second side until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet. Repeat dipping and frying the remaining bread. Drizzle with honey to serve.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: For some texture, coat the torrijas in cinnamon-sugar instead of sugar. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon and generously sprinkle over the torrijas.

Storage: Torrijas are especially good warm from the fryer when the outsides are delicately crisp and the insides are custardy, but they're also great at room temperature or straight out of the fridge — the texture will just change slightly. You can keep them wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 1 month. To reheat, just pop them in a 350°F oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.