When I came across an image of these little numbers, I knew immediately I needed to make them. At first I thought they were doughnuts, but as I started translating the ingredients list, I learned they were a little more complex.
Originating in Andalucía, the mollete is basically a flat-ish white bread roll that, thanks to Spain’s conquest of Guatemala, became part of the cuisine at some point thereafter.
Neighbouring Mexico does its molletes much like Italians do their bruschetta – except the rolls are hollowed and filled with refried beans and shredded cheese – then baked or grilled.
Guatemalan molletes rellenos de manjar, which translates to muffin filled delicacy, isn’t as savoury. Yes the bread is hollowed, but what goes inside is a thick vanilla custard spiked with lemon and cinnamon.
Can you see now why I couldn’t resist?
It doesn’t end there. The filled mollete is dunked in a foamy egg batter and shallow-fried like French toast – rendering it soft and juicy.
Another part of the picture is the spiced sugar syrup you have with it. Deliciously dark from brown sugar, the syrup has aromas of cinnamon, cloves and pimento – plus a few raisins that soak up all that sugary goodness.
I used those same raisins to stud the custard and garnish the top – however all the recipes I looked at didn’t soak theirs like I did. Kinda makes sense to inject more flavour by soaking them, don’t you think?
A final flourish of coloured sugar makes an otherwise ordinary orange-brown fried lump of stuffed bread look damn special.
These didn’t last very long in my household, I assure you!
Some recipes I looked at called for English muffins, whereas others use the traditional mollete. The latter is a little tricky to find in my part of the world, so I made the bread myself – a few days before. Doing the whole recipe in one sitting would take all day!
Adapted from here
*Maitre D’ Mini Casserole supplied by Scanpan