Andorran torrijas (Dessert French Toast) are a special Catalan dessert specific to Easter time. Small pieces of bread are soaked in milk, dipped in an egg mixture and fried, and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. They closely resemble a dessert version of French toast.
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Recipe Development Isn’t as Easy as it Looks
As a lot of you might recall from some of my Albania fails, I do not have the best track record with my own recipe development. Up until now, every time I had tried to create my own recipe, I ended up with something that made me wish I had just stuck with the original. It’s a good thing that I’m honest with ya’ll. And it’s a good thing that I REFUSE to give you a recipe that isn’t good. I’ll try mine a couple of times, but if it ends up that someone else’s is better, that’s what I share…. Which has pretty much been the case up until now.
A Successful Experiment
BUT, LET ME TELL YOU PEOPLE, YOUR GIRL AIN’T A QUITTER.
And, finally, we found some success.
Torrijas (Andorran Dessert French Toast) are a Catalan dessert that are very popular during Easter time in Spain. However, because of Catalan influence in Andorra, they’ve made their way across the border! Typical torrijas (Andorran Dessert French Toast) are flavored with cinnamon and lemon, but I wanted to try something new. I’m a huge coconut fan and love pretty much anything that contains it. That, paired with wanting to use up some slivered almonds I had left over from Algeria is where I came up with these Andorran Coconut and Almond Mini French Toasts.
When I was cooking Andorra, I made a traditional version of this recipe along with my own. This way, I could do a side-by-side comparison to see which was better. Better yet, I could have my parents do a blind test to tell me which flavor they preferred. Low and behold, I won!
This recipe just screams “spring” to me. Light and airy coconut paired with fresh, crunchy almonds is a perfect dessert to consume on a warm April day. I loved them and I’m sure you will too.
Torrijas (Andorran Dessert French Toast)
- 1 loaf crusty, slightly stale bread
- 2 cans coconut milk, full fat
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 4 eggs
- extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 1/2-1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Bring the milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and almond extract to a boil. Let boil slowly for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, cut the bread into slices. Lay on a flat dish, and pour the milk mixture over the slices. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Pour enough liquid that the slices are wet but do not break apart.
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a shallow pan on the stove. You know that the oil is ready for frying when you stick a chopstick in the oil and bubbles form around the wood.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then dip the bread pieces into the eggs. Fry the slices in the oil about four at a time, making sure to cook both sides. Leave slices to rest on paper towel to absorb extra liquid.
- Mix the remaining sugar (1/2 cup) with cinnamon, and roll slices in the cinnamon sugar combination.
- Now make the syrup. Put the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture into a pot and add extra sugar to cover the bottom of the pot. Pour about 2 cups water into the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 tsp of almond extract to the combination.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken. Once ready, pour over the torrijas slices, giving them a generous amount of syrup.
- Top slices with shredded coconut.
- Let slices cool completely before refrigerating them, and then let rest in the fridge for about four hours before enjoying.