Torrijas (Spanish French Toast)
A 21st-century take on Spain’s favorite Easter dessert.
Traditional torrijas are deep-fried in olive oil, but this custardy baked rendition, adapted from the one sold in Madrid’s Panem bakery is lighter, prettier, and less messy. Challah or good white sandwich bread may be substituted for the brioche, though the result won’t be quite as rich. Day-old bread is ideal as it absorbs the liquid more readily. If you have a kitchen torch, use it in lieu of the broiler to scorch the bread slices on the top and sides; it’s easier to get an even brûlée that way. Torrijas will keep in an airtight container for three days in the refrigerator, though they lose their sugary crunch after a day or so.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1⁄2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped with a sharp knife
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 4 1½-inch slices (11 oz.) brioche or challah, crusts removed
- Cinnamon-sugar for dusting, optional