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Bake-Fried Bread in Spice-Scented Syrup - Mexico

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Brunch Desserts


  • 1 c Water
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 3 tb Piloncillo; OR dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c Raisins
  • 1 Stick cinnamon; (3-inches long)
  • 4 Whole cloves
  • 2 Strips lemon peel
  • 3 Egg whites; OR 1/3 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 1/2 c Skim milk
  • 3 tb Sweet wine; such as marsala or malaga OR 2-tbs skim milk
  • 1/2 ts Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 ts Almond extract
  • 1/4 ts Ground cinnamon
  • 6 sl Day-old french bread; 1-inch thick


In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the water, sugar, piloncillo or brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon peel. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened. Pour into a large shallow bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the syrup for 2 hours, or until cold.
In another large shallow bowl, whisk together the egg whites or egg substitute, milk, wine or milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and ground cinnamon. Add the bread and let soak, turning once or twice, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Arrange the bread on the prepared baking sheet. Coat the tops with nonstick spray. Bake for 10 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and crisp. Transfer the bread to a rack to cool.
Transfer the bread to the bowl with the syrup. Let soak, turning once or twice, for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon peel.
Transfer 1 slice into a small shallow serving bowl and spoon a little syrup and some raisins on top. Repeat with the remaining slices.
Makes 6 servings, each 208 Calories; 1g fat (4%)
PILONCILLO (panela; rapadura). Mexican piloncillo -- pressed, unrefined dark brown sugar -- usually comes molded in pyramid-shaped chunks. It's used for making desserts and syrup. It's harder than north American dark brown sugar, but the latter can be used as a substitute. To use piloncillo, grate it on a hand grater before measuring.
Notes: Caballeros pobres: "I've always loved the name of this Mexican dessert, literally, "poor horseman." It's a sort of French toast (actually, deep-fried bread) that's sewed in spice-scented syrup. To make a heart-healthy version, I use egg whites instead of egg yolks in the batter and crisp the bread in the oven instead of the deep-fryer." -SR
Recipe by: Steven Raichlen's Healthy Latin Cooking 1998
Posted to EAT-LF Digest by PatHanneman <> on May 04, 1999, converted by MM_Buster v2.0l.