Ingredients:

  • white vegan bread– sliced & toasted (I make my own using a vegan bread recipe)
  • about 4 cups of tea– made from cinnamon sticks & vegan brown sugar (to taste)
  • nuts (I suggest walnuts)– to preference
  • sliced soy cheese (American)– to preference
  • apples, sliced
  • bananas, sliced
  • raisins
  • white vegan sugar
  • casserole dish

Directions:

Okay, first a few notes. This is a very simple traditional Mexican lenten dish that my family has made every year since as far back as I can remember. Of course, I had to make a few modifications (vegan bread & soy cheese) but it’s every bit as great as the original. Second, the tea is actually supposed to be made from something called “piloncillo” (pronounced “peel-own-see-yo”) but since it’s a bit hard to find in most places, you can use cinnamon sticks & brown vegan sugar. This recipe is very flexible– you can choose whatever type of casserole dish you want (my mom uses square, my grandmother used a bowl- shaped one…) & what you want to put in it (you make the tea the way you want it & use however much you want, you choose what fruits & stuff you want in it & how much)– this recipe is how my family’s always made it. I know some people who put peanut butter on the toast & some who add vanilla to the tea, stuff like that– you guys can feel free to experiment all you want!

Okay, first, layer the bottom of the casserole dish with one layer of your toasted bread. Sprinkle a bit of white vegan sugar over it, then you add the cheese, fruits, & nuts (not necessarily in that order, though that’s how I do it). You take a bit of tea & pour it over the first layer (not too much because you’re going to be adding tea throughout the process to the other layers & you don’t want too much tea or it’ll get really really mushy & liquidy– unless of course you like it that way, it’s your call– I don’t like too much tea)… then, repeat the process– toast, vegan sugar, cheese, fruit, nuts, tea– until you feel like you have enough (which for my family means when the dish is about to overflow).

You should “end” the dish with the vegan sugar & all that stuff over the last layer of vegan bread (of course, if you want a layer of bread on top, that’s up to you– it’s all about what you prefer)…

Cover the dish with foil & stick it into a 350 degree (pre-heated) oven. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour (you’re basically watching for the tea to get soaked in & reduce, the cheese to melt, & the apples to brown & soften).

Once it’s done, let it cool & dig in! You can serve the dish nice & hot (like my family likes it), though personally, I love to eat it after it’s chilled in the fridge for a good while (sometimes overnight). This dish is very simple to make– what takes a lot of time is toasting all the vegan bread that you’ll need (not to mention making the vegan bread, if you’re like me), but it’s worth it. Also, it might not look very appetizing when you first see it (it really just looks like a bunch of mush, ‘specially since i like to take a HUGE spoon & just swirl it all around so it loses that casserole look & just becomes– well, a bunch of mush ;D) but believe me, give it a try & you’ll be hooked forever! it might be a bit much (lots of bread & sweet tea) but hey, an occasional bit of indulgence never hurt anyone :o) have fun!

Preparation time: takes a while:)