Molletes rellenos de manjar
These Guatemalan molletes rellenos de manjar may take time to construct, but they sure pay off in dessert decadence.
Manjar (custard)
The rest
  1. Stir the yeast into the water and set aside.
  2. Put the flour, salt and butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until sandy. Alternatively rub the butter into the flour with your hands.
  3. Gradually add the water/yeast mixture, and as soon as it comes together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then cover and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Cut the dough into 10 even pieces, then roll each piece into neat balls. Lay the balls on a floured baking sheet, then press down a little so they resemble hamburger buns. Make sure there’s a couple of inches between each ball, to allow for rising. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel for 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  6. Once the dough has rested for 45 minutes, brush lightly with water, dust over a little flour, then bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
  7. Cool completely before using. These can be made in advance and then frozen until you’re ready to make this dish. Just allow a couple of hours for them to defrost before starting the rest of the recipe!
Manjar (custard)
  1. Make a couple of days in advance, if you like.
  2. Put the milk, caster sugar, vanilla, zest, cinnamon and egg yolks into a small saucepan. Whisk a little to incorporate the yolks, then put the saucepan over low-medium heat. Allow to simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick after it has simmered.
  3. Whisk together the water and cornflour, then whisk this into the simmering milk. Continue whisking as it quickly thickens, then turn off heat.
  4. Cover the hot custard with a cartouche to prevent a skin forming. See notes on how to make a cartouche
  5. Set the custard aside to cool completely before using. I made mine the day before and kept it in the fridge until needed. All you have to do is whisk the firm custard a little to break it up before using.
  1. Toss all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the cinnamon, cloves and pimento. Keep the raisins and set aside.
  2. The syrup can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until needed.
The rest
  1. Cut the tops off each mollete (bread roll). Using a spoon, hollow out the centre of each bread roll. You can keep what you’re scooping out and make breadcrumbs for another dish, if you like.
  2. Place a few of the reserved raisins from the syrup into the bottom of each hollowed out bread roll. Spread some of the chilled custard into the hollows, spreading evenly to fill. Press the lid back on and set aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites for about 1 minute using an electric mixer. Whisk in the flour and egg yolks, forming an airy batter. Set aside.
  4. Put the kettle on and boil up a litre-or-so of water. Set aside as you cook your molletes.
  5. Put a large skillet on the stove and fill it with oil to a depth of 1½ centimetres. Heat the oil over a medium flame.
  6. Take a filled mollete and coat it in the egg batter, allowing the excess to drip off. Very carefully put it in the hot oil, top side down, and cook for a couple of minutes – or until light and golden. Very carefully flip it over to cook the other side. You can do a couple at a time, depending how large your skillet is.
  7. Meanwhile, put a saucepan into your sink and lay a cooling rack on top of it. Put your cooked molletes on this to drain. When the molletes are all cooked, pour over the boiled water. This seems a little odd, but you want to wash off some of the oil. Allow to drain, then you can dry them off a little more with kitchen paper towels.
  8. Pour the syrup you made earlier into a large, flat dish. What you do is allow the cooked molletes to rest in the syrup to soak into the bread.
  9. To garnish, mix the sugar and food colouring until combined. Sprinkle this on top of each mollete, lay a couple of the reserved raisins on top and serve.
Recipe Notes

To make a cartouche, tear off a piece of baking paper the same size as the saucepan. Fold the paper in half, forming a triangle. Keep folding a couple more times to form a thin wedge. Hold the folded paper over the pot with the point at the centre and the wider end on the outside. You’re basically measuring the size of the pot. Cut the wider end of the paper where it meets the rim of the pot. Unfold and you’ll have a rough round of baking paper. Lay this on top of the custard and press down. This will prevent a skin from forming.