This traditional Northern New Mexico desert has its origins in the Spanish bread pudding known as Capirotada, made from day-old bread or cake and filled with nuts, spices, apples and cheese. Local cooks use piñon nuts or pecans.
The most important part of the recipe is the caramelized sugar. Put sugar in a heavy saucepan, stir and heat until the sugar dissolves and darkens. Be careful not to burn it. Add spice and citrus juice, wine or liquor, as desired.
1 cup sugar, caramelized
2 cups water
juice of one lemon
1 or more teaspoons of cinnamon
1 or 2 cups raisins
1 or 2 cups pecans, piñons or walnuts
½ pound grated cheese
2 or 4 fresh apples, cored and sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
6 to 8 slices toasted bread
Caramelize the sugar; add water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil while stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture boils into a syrup. Toast the bread cake or buns and spread with butter. Place in a casserole or deep baking dish in layers of bread, raisins, nuts, apples, cheese. Top with bread layer. Dot with more butter. Pour the caramelized syrup over all, to within ½ inch of the top of the baking dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until all the syrup is absorbed.