The countdown to Christmas has started! As a special treat for the holiday, I’m honored to present to you the rabanadas, a traditional dessert eaten at Christmas time, very popular in the North of Portugal.
Since I was little, I used to help my mom to prepare these on Christmas Eve, and it’s the perfect recipe to do with the help of an extra pair of hands.
The typical codfish with potatoes and collard greens was being cooked in the kitchen, together with some roasted turkey. Suddenly, the house started to be filled with cinnamon scent as we start preparing the rabanadas. This is a dessert that has to be made, never to be missed or it wouldn’t taste like Christmas for me.
Rabanadas, Bolo-Rei (King’s Cake), mexidos, aletria, leite-creme are always the usual suspects around the holidays in Portugal. And, as special as they are, we only prepare those deliciousness during this period. Maybe that’s why they taste so divine.
Somehow similar to the french toast, the recipe is composed by slices of bread soaked in a mixture of milk, honey and beaten eggs, fried in olive oil and then sprinkled in sugar and cinnamon. Sounds simple? So let’s get started!
Normally we use a baguette of white bread. Here I use some multigrain, but that’s just how I roll. The bread should be bought in advance, two or three days, because we need it to be hard for this. It’s sliced and the edges are discarded.
Then we need a bowl with milk, warmed with some honey and then mixed with beaten eggs.
In another bowl, we mix sugar and cinnamon. I use brown sugar this time, but any regular sugar is fine.
Now, we need to organize a process line with the bowls, the sliced bread, the skillet, and two more plates, one with a paper towel to absorb some oil from the bread when we take them out of the skillet and another to put the final rabanadas, coated with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. This is a good advice, especially if you don’t have any extra helping hands to do this.
So, the process goes like this: pick three or four slices of bread and soaked them in the milk mixture enough time to be well moist but keeping the bread hard enough to handle. Then pass them to the skillet with hot olive oil and fry them around two minutes each side until golden brown.
When the bread is browned both sides and the egg has cooked through, take them out to the plate with a paper towel, let it drain a little and put each slice on the sugar/cinnamon bowl coating them well in the mixture.
Align them in the final plate. Repeat the process until the bread is finish.
I can’t resist and eat one or two right after done. While very warm it’s delicious!
But if you have patience enough to wait just a little time, doesn’t take much until the sugar and cinnamon start to melt into the bread and get super moist and, by then, even more tasty.
Now, look again.
Ahhh, the taste of Christmas arrived! So good!
- 1 baguette of bread, two days old (must be hard)
- 3 cups of milk
- 2 Tbsp of honey
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch thick rounds.
- Discard the crust from the edges.
- Warm the milk in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of honey around 30 seconds on the microwave.
- In another bowl, beat 5 eggs and incorporate into the milk mixture. Set aside.
- In a third bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon and set aside.
- Make a processing line with the slices of bread, the bowl of milk mix, one empty plate with a paper towel, the bowl of sugar/cinnamon and a plate to pile the final rabanadas.
- Soaked three or four slices of bread in the milk mixture enough time to get well moist but still hard and easy to handle.
- Transfer them to a skillet with hot olive oil and fry them in medium-heat around 2 minutes each side, until golden brown.
- Transfer the slices to the plate with paper towel to drain a little, then coat them with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and finally put them in the last plate.
- Repeat the process with the remaining slices of bread.