Capirotada = Semana Santa, Holy Week

Dominga Medrano, my mom, was an excellent and creative cook who every Holy Week would gift us with Capirotada.  Our kitchen overflowed with aromas of cinnamon,  cilantro and piloncillo and even now I can see her face serving us this bread pudding on Good Friday.  (Buenos días, Amá)  Food is such a sacred, happy gift, isn’t it. 


Recipe (serves 12)
5 cups water
1 five-inch stick Mexican Canela
1 cup black raisins
5 oz Piloncillo, scraped into small pieces.  You can use brown sugar but its worth the effort to try to find Piloncillo.  It will taste much better.  Piloncillo is made by crushing sugar canes, boiling the juice and placing it into conic molds.  It looks like the picture below. The flavor is complex with hints of  smoke, caramel.
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

3 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
12” Loaf French bread.



  1. Preheat oven to 3500 F
  2. Add the canela and piloncillo to the water, bring to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes.
  3. Slice the French loaf along the base lengthwise and make 3 layers
  4. Arrange the bottom layer in the pan, add 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the raisins, spreading these evenly.
  5. Place the second bread layer and again spread another 1/3 of the cheese and raisins.
  6. Place the topmost bread layer and then spread the remaining raisins, cheese and cilantro.
  7. Pour the piloncillo and canela water on top of the bread loaf, using a strainer as needed to strain out any bits of cinnamon stick.
  8. Cover the dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.


¡Buen Provecho and Happy Easter!

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2 thoughts on “Capirotada = Semana Santa, Holy Week”

  • My grandmother made Capirotada using the ingredients shown above but she also added fruit like chopped Apple, Pineapple
    and at times a can of Fruit Cocktail.

  • I wonder who invented capirotada? Sweet, spice, bread . . . and cheese?!? It’s an annual tradition for us, too, although we never made it with cilantro, and I don’t remember ever using pecans, either. I will have to try a pan of it next year with the cilantro & pecans to see what we think of it. 🙂

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