There are many similar recipes in every country. The recipe is mainly soaked hard bread and then fried. In France they have similar recipe called pain perdu, and also in Portugal their recipe is called fatias douradas.
Would you like to know where is the recipe comming from?
The recipe could be one of the oldest in Europe, since few similar recipes were found from the romans. However, the actual recipes suffered many changes since then. In the past they used to use wine instead of milk, and honey instead of sugar & cinnamon.
For many years in Spain this dessert was recommended to pregnant ladies, as the ingredients were considered energy foods of easy digestion, suitable for the sick and also good for woman who recently gave birth. From the Middle Ages Sephardi cook books will show recipes of what they called “revanadas de parida” (woman who gave birth slices). Since then for many years was common to gift new mothers the ingredients to cook torrijas.
Little by little the consumption of this dessert was spreading and it was offered also to visitors when a new child was born.
The term “torrija” is recent, it appeared for the first time in a dictionary in 1591. Since the main ingredient is hard bread, the term derived from the Latin word torrere = torrija
Eventually, the “special” ingredients to cook torrijas became cheaper. When everyone could afford them the torrijas were no longer so unique.
The growing middle class on the XIX century made improvements on the torrijas recipe (now with coffee, jam, almonds, banana, etc) Almost all the modern versions were invented about 100 years ago.
How torrijas became Easter tradition?
Due that the tradicional recipe include all the ingredients allowed on the Easter religious menu, they became very popular at this time of the year. Every Easter from the middle of the XIX century is been tradition in Spain to eat this dessert.