If French toast and churros had a baby, Andorran torrijas would be it. They are sweet and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and coated in a layer of cinnamon sugar. This sweet fried bread makes for an irresistible breakfast or dessert.
Country Number 4: Andorra
Welcome to Andorra, the fourth country of our cooking challenge! This is the second European country that we have made a dish from (after we made a pumpkin pie from Albania the other day)!
Neither of us had much prior knowledge on Andorra or its cuisine, other than the fact it is a tiny country in the Pyrenees, nestled between France and Spain. When we say tiny, we are talking a micro-state with a population of 77,000 tiny!
Unsupringinly, Andorra’s cuisine very closely resembles the Catalan region of Spain (which is a place we are a lot more familiar with). There is also a distinct French and Italian influence evident throughout Andorran cuisine. This means there aren’t a huge number of dishes that are distinctly Andorran. Instead, you’ll find many adaptations of dishes from these surronding regions.
Popular Andorran Vegetarian Dishes
Andorran cuisine isn’t very vegetarian friendly as most of their traditional meals feature meat in some form or other. Here are the very few vegetarian dishes that are popular in this little country:
- Pa Amb Tomaquet– bread rubbed with tomato, olive oil and garlic
- Coca– Pastry that comes as either a sweet or savory snack, with a variety of toppings including roasted vegetables, fruit and nuts
- Crema Andorrana– An Andorran take on creme brulee where the custard dessert is topped with meringue
- Torrijas– sweet fried bread coated in cinnamon sugar, similar to french toast
Vegetarian rating of Andorran cuisine:
Making Andorran Torrijas (Not Quite French Toast)
Given that vegetarian options for a savory Andorran dish are basically non-existent, we decided to go with a sweet dish instead (no complaints here). Torrijas are a very popular dish in both Spain and Andorra that is traditionally made during Easter time.
Differences between Torrijas and French Toast
Similar to French toast, torrijas are made by dipping stale bread into an egg mixture and frying it on a pan. However, there are a few key differences between the two dishes.
- Torrijas are soaked in sweetened milk before getting dipped in egg mixture. This makes the bread even lighter and fluffier than typical French toast.
- Torrijas tend to be a bit sweeter than french toast. They are commonly dipped in cinnamon sugar and served as a dessert as oppose to a breakfast dish. Having said this, we have nothing against a good sugar rush in the morning, so we happily served these up for breakfast.
What you’ll need to make Torrijas
- Pantry staples- All you are going to need from the pantry is some slightly stale bread, sugar, cinnamon and honey (optional but highly recommended to put on top the torrijas). If you want to add a little extra flavour to the torrijas, we’d recommend lemon zest, cardamon pods and a cinnamon stick to infuse with the milk mixture.
- Refrigerated items- just eggs and milk (you can use any kind but we used regular cows milk for ours)
What type of bread to use for Torrijas
Traditionally, a thick baguette-shaped loaf is used to make Torrijas. However, we decided to use brioche instead, as brioche is just so freaking good. You can use whatever bread you like for this recipe, just leave it out to go a little stale before using so it absorbs as much liquid as possible when soaking! If you forgot to do this, you can lightly toast each slice to dry it out before making the Torrijas.
Steps to make Torrijas
Just like french toast, Torrijas is a fairly straight-forward dish to prepare and come together in a few simple steps:
- Boil milk with sugar and spices
- Soak bread in milk mixture for 30 minutes
- Dip bread in egg, fry in pan
- Coat with cinnamon sugar to serve!
Serving Suggestions for Torrijas
Unlike french toast, where elaborate toppings tend to the star of the show, we’d recommend keeping it simple when serving up torrijas. Whilst there are variations on the toppings of torrijas, we really enjoyed them coated in cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of honey. They really don’t need much more than this.
Andorran Torrijas (French Toast)
- 1 loaf brioche bread (stale)
- 4 cups 1 litre milk
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods (scraped for seeds)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Vegetable oil (for cooking)
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Honey (optional, to serve)
- Cut bread into thick slices then cut each slice in half. Arrange slices in a baking dish.
- Bring milk to gentle boil in saucepan with sugar, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds and lemon zest. As soon as milk is boiling, take off heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Sift milk mixture to remove additions and pour on top of slices of bread. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in large frying pan. Beat eggs in large, shallow bowl. Dip one piece of soaked bread into egg mixture at a time, then put straight onto frying pan. Repeat to fill the pan.
- Fry each side of bread for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly brown. Mix together cinnamon and sugar into a large, shallow bowl and coat each slice with mixture.
- Serve warm with a drizzle of honey!
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