- 2 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 small or 1 large loaf stale French bread, sliced into ¾ inch thick rounds
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cone piloncillo, chopped (or substitute 1 cup brown sugar)
- 2 whole cloves
- 10 3-inch sticks canela (Also known as Mexican cinnamon, or substitute stick cinnamon)
- ½ cup whole almonds or pecans
- ¼ cup brandy or Kahlúa
Step 1: Combine milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Dip each slice of bread into the milk mixture, then put bread in a colander placed over a bowl to drain.
Step 2: Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Beat 3 of the egg yolks well, fold carefully into the meringue, being careful not to deflate the whites.
Step 3: Heat the oil in a heavy skillet until hot but not smoking. Dip each bread slice into the meringue to coat, then fry in the oil. When browned, flip rounds to cook the other side. Drain on paper towels.
Step 4: Meanwhile, place water, sugar, piloncillo and spices in a small saucepan. Swimmer, stirring frequently, until sugar and piloncillo are completely dissolved. Allow to continue cooking until syrup coats a spoon. Strain into another small pan. Place cinnamon sticks on waxed paper to cool. Discard cloves. Add liquor and nuts and continue cooking another 5 minutes, or until syrup re-thickens.
Step 5: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, in a deep baking dish or individual soufflé molds, place fried bread rounds in 1 layer at the bottom. Pour on a large spoonful of the syrup/almond mix. Repeat with 1 more layer of bread. Finish by topping with more syrup and almonds. Bake 30-40 minutes or until syrup begins to boil and you see caramelization occurring. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Step 6: Garnish with the canela sticks and serve with a scoop of Mexican chocolate ice cream.
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