Spain’s famous sweets are as vibrant and colorful as this sunny country itself. So when you travel through its cities, do not deprive yourself of the gastronomic pleasure, try as many as you can and enjoy the magical flavors.
Among the desserts of Spanish cuisine the very delicate cream called “Crema Catalán” takes a rightful place in the top three. Millions of sweet tooth craze for its appetizing crunchy crust and vanilla flavor.
The dessert’s homeland is Catalonia. The ancient recipe is mentioned in a XIV century cookbook. In Britain, a similar sweet is called St. Trinity cream, after the college in Cambridge, where it was, according to the British, “first invented” in the XVII century.
The delicacy is partly similar to the French crème brûlée, only the Spanish substituted the heavy cream with milk. It is accompanied by sugar and egg yolks. The dessert is completed with citrus zest and other spices (cinnamon, vanilla).
In restaurants the Catalan cream is prepared in advance and then infused in the fridge. The key moment comes just before serving, when you need to create a caramelized crust on the surface of the dessert. For that the cold cream is sprinkled with granulated sugar, and exposed to high temperature.
No less popular than the Catalan cream among Spanish sweets is the Turrón. Its name translates as “nougat” and it is made using honey, roasted almonds (or other nuts), egg whites and sugar.
Turrón is considered a traditional Christmas sweet in Spain. On the eve of the holiday, hundreds of variations of it are on sale. The largest production of Turrón is in the province of Valencia, the home of the dessert.
In supermarkets, the delicacy is sold only in winter around Christmas. But there are also specialized stores where you can buy the magnificent sweet all year round. These are a great tasty souvenir from Spain for family and friends instead of the usual magnets.
Every tourist must try the Spanish dessert churros. This is a case when it is worth forgetting about all your diets and enjoy the famous doughnuts. The dough for churros is made by pouring boiling water, flour, and salt, then it is spun through a special machine, giving it a sausage shape with a star shape on the edge. Then they are rolled into a horseshoe shape and fried in a cauldron with corn oil.
Spaniards eat churros for breakfast by dipping them into hot chocolate. Such a calorie-dense snack invigorates and strengthens you for a whole day. A delicious Spanish doughnut can be found at any bakery, but the best place to try them is at a “churreria”.
The name of these Spanish delicacies comes from the word polvo, which means “dust. Airy shortbread cookies are made from flour, nuts, granulated sugar, and pork fat. In some areas, the fat is replaced by milk, butter or olive oil.
The Spanish cookies look like gingerbread, but they have such a light texture that they literally melt in your mouth. They take about two days to prepare. But the result is a ruddy crust and a tender crumbly middle.
It is considered a Christmas delicacy, but you can buy it on the shelves of Spanish stores in any season. Polvoron is unlikely to be suitable as a gift, because the dessert is very fragile, you can not deliver it.
Cake Santiago (Torta De Santiago)
This Spanish pastry is originally from Galicia, but you can enjoy it in any part of the country, even in the smallest village. The history of the biscuit dessert goes back a long way; it was first mentioned in 1577. It was named after Saint Apostle Santiago, the patron saint of Spain.
The delicious flavor comes from a very simple preparation. The whole secret is that instead of the usual flour they use ground almonds. It gives the cake a special rich flavor. They also add citrus zest and cinnamon, and decorate the top with powdered sugar, leaving the area in the shape of the cross of Santiago unsprinkled (a ready-made stencil is used for this).
Spaniards love to eat a piece of this cake with a glass of Galician wine. The dessert is great to give as a gift to your family because it has a long shelf life.
This dessert is a kind of symbol of Mallorca. Exactly there in the XVII century for holidays and festivals began to bake magnificent delicate buns in the form of a snail. In the middle of the nineteenth century the entrepreneur Garín opened a pastry shop for the production of ensaïmada in the center of Madrid. Today, it is one of the most popular Spanish desserts. Many tourists at the airport can be seen with octagonal white cardboard boxes, inside which the famous buns from Mallorca.
There are several varieties of the dessert, but only two are considered traditional: without filling (simple ensaymades) and with a sweet filling of caramelized pumpkin pulp. Other popular options include Spanish buns with custard, whipped cream (they are stored in the refrigerator), chocolate or Catalan cream.
Traditionally in Spain, these pastries are served for breakfast or afternoon snacks.
Torrijas literally translates from Spanish as “slice”. The dessert is really slices of bread, not the first-freshness, which are soaked in wine or milk, and then roasted in a large quantity of hot oil and served with honey and cinnamon.
The famous Spanish playwright Juan del Encina considered torrijas an excellent way to replenish energy after hard physical work, and he himself never turned down a portion of this sweet dish.
The Spaniards used to eat torrijas for breakfast, afternoon snacks, or simply for a snack with friends over a cup of aromatic coffee. You can try the dessert in any café. And in the center of Madrid there is even a special “House of torrijas” with an impeccable reputation and a huge selection of delicious toast.
Such an airy pudding can be ordered in any Spanish café. The flan is made with milk, sugar and eggs and topped with caramel. It can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days.
Cinnamon or vanilla is added to the milk to intensify the flavor and aroma. Flan resembles something between Catalan cream and crème brûlée. What makes this Spanish dessert different from the French sweet is that it keeps the caramel on the “bottom”, which makes it soft.
Other Spanish desserts and sweets
If you are a real foodie and the described desserts are not enough to get to know the national cuisine, you must try other Spanish sweet dishes:
- the delicate sponge cakes carbayones filled with sugar, egg and ground almonds and glazed with cinnamon lemon syrup;
- casadijos cakes filled with anise, sugar and nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts);
- amazing shortbread cakes made of bread dough botijo with chocolate paste and hazelnuts;
- spanish ice cream in unexpected flavors;
- sweet tortilla made of milk, eggs and caramelized apples;
- marzipan candies and bars made of a mixture of grated almonds and powdered sugar, covered with chocolate or lemon icing;
- spanish chocolate molasses cake with a delicate velvet flavor;
- sweet rice porridge arroz con leche, boiled in milk and sprinkled with cocoa before serving.