Old bread often ends up happily as a dessert pudding. In Mexico, bread pudding, called capirotada, usually includes cheese. The dish is traditional, but it doesn't require a lot of effort, especially if you start with purchased unseasoned dried bread cubes. And instead of making a flavored syrup to moisten the bread, as Mexican cooks do, just buy the kind served in coffee bars. These syrups are widely available in liquor stores, Italian delicatessens, and upscale supermarkets. For a delicious alternative to the apricot-flavor syrup we use, try a tamarind- or almond-flavor one. If desired, serve with vanilla ice cream or nonfat frozen yogurt.
Quick tricks for a traditional dessert