Baking & Desserts
apr 24, 2020

Ogi Torrada (Torrijas) + Ice Cream

We first discovered the magic of Ogi Torrada, the Basque version of Spanish Torrijas, on a trip to San Sebastián. Back at home, we were thrilled to find a recipe for it in Basque Country, written by our friend Marti Buckley.
This dessert is like an ultra-luscious, baton-shaped bread pudding, without the eggs but with a crackly, caramelized sugar crust. It is one of those perfect recipes for utilizing stale bread. We made it last weekend with leftover brioche baked by our 14-year old, Charlotte (her quarantine-induced boredom has yielded many delicious results). You can use store-bought brioche, challah, or other unsliced fine-crumbed bread. You want something you can cut into the thick batons called for in the recipe.
The Bonus: Ogi Torrada Ice Cream
Be sure to save the milk mixture (AKA sweet liquid gold) used to soak your bread while making Ogi Torrada. You can reward yourself with a bonus dessert by transforming it into no-egg (also called Philadelphia-style) ice cream. We don’t bother to strain it - those brioche crumbs are delicious! - but do remove the cinnamon stick. Chill the liquid thoroughly (we refrigerate it overnight) before spinning it in your ice cream maker until creamy and scoopable.

Ogi Torrada (Torrijas)

Caramelized Custard Bread

Author the Civic Kitchen

This recipe is a modern version of torrijas, using an eggless batter and a big, blocky cut on the bread for a nicer presentation. The pieces are seared on all four sides in a hot pan and finished with another layer of caramelized sugar (see Notes). The result is a crackling exterior that hides a creamy, French toast–like texture.

Adapted from: Marti Buckley’s Basque Country
Yield   Serves 4-6


240mL (1 cup) heavy cream

240mL (1 cup) whole milk

175g (½ cup plus 6 tablespoons) sugar

1 cinnamon stick

200g (½ loaf brioche, challah or other unsliced white bread), a few days old

85g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter


In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon stick, and ½ cup (100g) of the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until steaming. Let cool to room temperature. Cut the bread into 2-x-2-x-4-inches (5-x-5-x-10-cm) rectangular bars. Place them in a shallow dish that will accommodate them in a single layer, pour the milk mixture over, and let soak for 10 minutes. Flip them over as needed to ensure even soaking.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the sugar over medium-high heat. Remove 2 pieces of bread from the milk mixture and set them on a paper towel to blot excess liquid. Once the butter and sugar have melted, add the 2 pieces of bread to the pan. Cook for 1 minute before flipping 90º. Cook for another minute, then flip 90º again. The sugar and butter should be starting to caramelize. Flip again and, after another minute, flip to the last side and cook for 30 seconds.
Finally, swirl the pan to distribute the caramelized sugar-butter mixture and flip the bread pieces once more, with the most presentable side down. Cook for 1 minute. Gently remove the bread pieces, with their most presentable side up, to a sheet pan. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels, then cook the remaining bread in batches of two, using 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter and 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar for each batch. Serve warm*.


*For an extra-special touch, sprinkle the top of each warm bread piece with additional sugar, then melt the sugar under a broiler or with a kitchen torch until it bubbles, as for crème brûlée. Let the caramelized sugar cool for a couple of minutes to a crunchy coating (and to avoid burning your tongue!).