This torrejas recipe is a delicious combination of french toast and churros. Fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, subtly spiced and coated in a layer of cinnamon sugar- this dish is an irresistible introduction to food from Andorra!
Welcome to Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees, nestled between France and Spain. When I say tiny, I am talking a micro-state with a population of 77,000 kind of tiny.
Before researching and making this Andorran recipe, I knew very little about the country. Now that I’ve done some research on Andorra, it’s definitely on my list of places to visit! Characterized by rugged mountains, glaciers and open pastures, this micro-state looks like a stunning spot to visit.
An Overview of Andorran Cuisine
Unsupringinly, Andorra’s cuisine very closely resembles the food of the Catalan region of Spain (which is a place I am a lot more familiar with). There is also a distinct French and Italian influence evident throughout Andorra’s food.
This means there aren’t a huge number of dishes that are distinctly Andorran. Instead, you’ll find many adaptations of dishes from these surrounding regions.
Common Andorra Food
- 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
- Cargols– Snails that are oven-roasted and served with olive oil, salt and aioli
- Crema Andorrana– An Andorran take on creme brulee where the custard dessert is topped with meringue
- Torrejas– Sweet fried bread coated in cinnamon sugar, similar to french toast
The national dish of Andorra
The national dish of Andorra is Escudella, a prized dish that is often eaten at Christmas. This is a big, hearty stew filled will all different types of meats such as chicken, veal, pig snout and trotters and sausage. Basically, it’s a vegetarian’s nightmare. The stew also tends to include potatoes, cabbage, pulses and pasta shells. There is certainly a lot going on in this Andorran dish…
Making Torrejas from Andorra
Given that Floss and I are both predominately vegetarian, neither of us were particularly enamoured by the idea of making the national dish of Andorra, Escudella, given it is swimming with meat.
However, we were very enamoured by the idea of making a dish swimming with sugary goodness. Namely, torrejas (also spelt torrijas). Torrejas is essentially the Spanish version (and in my opinion, the superior version) of French toast. It is a very popular dish in both Spain and Andorra that is traditionally made during Easter time.
What is the difference between torrejas and French toast?
Similar to French toast, torrejas are made by dipping stale bread into an egg mixture and frying it on a pan. However, there are a few differences between the two dishes:
- Torrejas are soaked in sweetened and lightly spiced milk before getting dipped in egg mixture. This makes the bread even lighter and fluffier than typical French toast.
- Torrejas are dipped in cinnamon sugar, reminiscent of Spanish churros. Becasue of this coating, they tend to be a bit sweeter than French toast and are often served as a dessert.
- Unlike French toast which is most commonly loaded up with toppings, torrejas tend to be topped very simply with honey or syrup.
Ingredients for this Torrejas recipe
- Bread– Traditionally, a thick baguette-shaped loaf is used to make torrejas. We’ve made the Andorran dessert using both baguette and a brioche loaf, both work really well. You can use whatever bread you like, just make sure it’s starting to go stale (or toast it slightly before using). The drier the bread, the more it will hold its form after absorbing the soaking liquid.,
- Pantry staples- You’ll need white sugar, cinnamon and honey (optional but highly recommended to put on top the torrejas). We also used lemon zest, cardamon pods and a cinnamon stick to infuse with the milk mixture and give the torrejas more flavour.
- Refrigerated items- You’ll need eggs, full-fat milk and butter.
How to make Torrejas
Just like french toast, Torrejas is a fairly straight-forward dish to prepare and come together in a few simple steps:
1. 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 to cool slightly.
2. Pour milk mixture through a sieve over the pour on top of slices of bread. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Mix together cinnamon and sugar in a large shallow bowl.
3. Heat oil in large frying pan. Beat eggs in wide, shallow bowl. Dip one piece of soaked bread into egg mixture at a time, then place straight onto frying pan. Repeat to fill the pan. Fry each side of bread for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly brown. Once cooked, coat each slice with cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm with a drizzle of honey.
Serving Suggestions for this Torrejas recipe
Unlike french toast, where elaborate toppings tend to the star of the show, we’d recommend keeping it simple when serving up torrejas. Whilst there are variations on the toppings of torrejas, in Andorra, they are typically coated in cinnamon sugar and topped with a drizzle of honey. They really don’t need much more than this.
Other sweet recipes to try:
- Island Banana Bread with Buttered Rum Sauce
- Cocada Amarela Recipe (Spiced Coconut Porridge)
- Beninese Caramelised Banana Porridge
- 1 loaf brioche bread or 2 baguettes, slightly stale
- 4 cups full-fat milk
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods, scraped for seeds
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Cut bread into thick slices. If using a loaf of bread and not a baguette, cut each piece in half. Arrange slices in 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 to cool slightly. Pour milk mixture through a sieve over the pour on top of slices of bread. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- Mix together cinnamon and sugar in a large shallow bowl.
- Heat oil in large frying pan. Beat eggs in wide, shallow bowl. Dip one piece of soaked bread into egg mixture at a time, then place straight onto frying pan. Repeat to fill the pan. Fry each side of bread for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly brown.
- Once cooked, coat each slice with cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm with a drizzle of honey.
Planning to try this torrejas recipe from Andorra? Tag me at @polkadotpassport!