This is not your Mama's Capirotada, expect an unexpected burst of orange flavor mixed with cinnamon, cranberries and apples.
1 1/2 cps. Brown Sugar or Piloncillo
3/4 cp Water
3/4 cp Orange Juice
1/2 cp Butter
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon or 1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 tsp Orange Extract
1/2 lb Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack, cubed
2 cps - Golden Delicious Apples, sliced
1/2 cp Dried Cranberries
1/2 cp Pecans, whole or chopped
1/2 Loaf of French or Sweet Bread or 3-4 Bolillos, sliced
Vanilla or Toffee Ice Cream
In a sauce pan add brown sugar, water, orange juice, butter and cinnamon and bring to a boil while mixing. Reduce heat then simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Discard cinnamon stick if used. Cut bread into 1/2 inch slices and place unlayered on a cookie sheet. Toast in oven until lightly brown.
In a baking dish with cover, place a layer of bread, sprinkle 1/3 each of apples, dried cranberries, pecans and cheese. Pour 1/3 cinnamon syrup on top. Repeat layers and top with remaining syrup. Cover and bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Uncover for last 5 minutes.
Serve 1/2 cup or more of warm pudding on an individual plate or bowl topped with fresh whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.
Substitutes: Feel free to substitute fruits, nuts, cheeses and extracts and just make it your own!