March 14, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland, prop styling by Alya Hameedi, food styling by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes 10 large slices
Author Notes

Torrijas are often compared to French toast, but as much as I love eating French toast for breakfast, torrijas are in another category of their own. Much richer and more decadent than French toast, they get drenched in a sweet, fragrant cream and milk mixture and fried in a pan of olive oil and butter. While French toast is most often served as a morning meal, the times I’ve had torrijas at a restaurant—once at a restaurant in Chilean Patagonia, and another time at Basque restaurant Ernesto’s on the Lower East Side—they were both served as dessert. I’ve done my best to conjure up those memories of some of the best desserts I’ve had at a restaurant, trying to replicate that luxurious and pudding-like texture of torrijas, more akin to Spanish-style bread pudding than to French toast.

I’ve noted brioche as the bread of choice for this recipe, but feel free to substitute challah or any other enriched bread that you like, as long as it’s very dry before you begin. —Stephanie Loo

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 2 (2-inch) strips lemon peel
  • 2 (2-inch) strips orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 day-old brioche loaf
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean (both the seeds and the pod), lemon peel, orange peel, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the bread into 1-inch-thick slices and arrange on a half sheet tray in a single layer.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and eggs.
  4. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof liquid measuring cup. Let cool slightly until warm, not hot. Pour the warm milk mixture over the bread slices.
  5. On another half sheet tray, place a wire rack on top.
  6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil and butter. Working with one slice at a time, dip the bread into the eggs to coat both sides. Let the excess drip off, then place in the pan. Repeat with as many slices as will fit in a single layer. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to the wire rack while you repeat the dipping and frying process with the remaining bread, adding more oil and butter if the pan gets dry. Serve immediately.

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