Torrijas with a British twist
How do you make a hot cross bun better? Impossible I hear you cry, but don’t be so hasty. How about soaking them in sherry, dipping them in beaten egg, then frying them? It’s gotta be worth a try right?
On Good Friday, my fellow sherry blogger undertheflor tweeted about how much he misses hot cross buns since living in Spain. I, on the other hand, was dreaming of torrijas – the Spanish version of French toast (or eggy bread as it’s always been in my family). Hmm, I wondered, what if I made torrijas with hot cross buns?
Like our tradition of eating spiced buns with a cross on the top, torrijas are a classic Easter food in Spain. The story goes that they originated in Andalucia where the convents made them during Lent to use up stale bread. And of course the convents in the sherry towns had a ready supply of egg yolks, donated by the bodegas which used the egg whites to clarify the sherry.
During Semana Santa (Easter Week), torrijas get a pretty tasty makeover – with sherry. The stale bread is soaked in a mix of milk and sherry, before being dipped in egg and fried as usual. Every family has their own recipe, and opinions vary about whether to use Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso or Cream in the soaking mix. I turned to Twitter for opinions on which sherry to use, and the majority voted for Oloroso.
As it’s now Easter Sunday, there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to pick up a packet or two or hot cross buns, before the supermarkets replace them with barbecue equipment or mince pies. Grab a pack and give this a try. It will work for a packet of 4 hot cross buns, and you may just – like me – be converted!
Hot cross bun torrijas
4 hot cross buns – sliced in half and allowed to go stale overnight if possible
Oil for frying
Honey for drizzling
Split the hot cross buns and leave in the air to go stale – ideally overnight. Once you’re ready to make your torrijas, mix your milk and Oloroso in a shallow dish or plate and beat your eggs on a separate plate. Meanwhile heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat to a medium heat.
Soak each piece of hot cross bun in the milk and sherry mix for about a minute. If you can’t wait for them to go stale, only soak them for a few seconds. Flip over and soak the other side. Quickly dip each side in the beaten egg to coat, and then fry for 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve with a drizzle of honey, and a glass of chilled Cream sherry.