Sweets in Andalusia
This is a brief introduction to some of the most typical and delicious sweets in Andalusia, a region in southern Spain with a rich and varied gastronomy.
The origin of many sweets in Andalusia dates back to the Middle Ages, when the region was under Muslim rule. The Arabs introduced new ingredients and techniques, such as sugar, honey, almonds, nuts, spices and pastry making. Some of these sweets are still made today following the traditional recipes.
Types of sweets
There are many types of sweets in Andalusia, but some of the most common ones are:
- Pestiños: small pieces of dough fried in oil and coated with honey or sugar. They are usually shaped like diamonds or flowers.
- Torrijas: slices of bread soaked in milk or wine, dipped in egg and fried in oil. They are often sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
- Roscos: ring-shaped pastries made with flour, eggs, sugar and aniseed. They can be baked or fried.
- Alfajores: cylindrical pastries filled with a mixture of honey, almonds and spices.
- Polvorones: crumbly cookies made with flour, lard, sugar and almonds.
- Mantecados: similar to polvorones but softer and more moist.
- Hojaldres: are a type of baked goods made with puff pastry, a dough that consists of thin layers of butter and flour. Pastries can be filled with cream, fruit, chocolate or other ingredients.
If you want to taste some of the best sweets in Andalusia, here are some places and products that you should not miss.
- Jaen: the door to Andalusia. In Guarromán, you can find its famed hojaldres de cabello de ángel or angel's hair feuillettes. In Mancha Real, you can enjoy its sponge cakes and wine doughnuts. In Jaén, the nuns in the convents make some ochíos, yemas and rosquillas de San Blas. In Martos, you can order some mostachones, pestiños, roscos de anís and costradas. In Alcaudete, you can taste some huesos de santo and cider turnovers.
- Cordova: famous for its pastel cordobés, made of puff pastry and angel's hair, and occasionally ham. The Cistersian sisters prepare some pestinos, fry doughnuts; and at Christmas, some yemas. The sisters of St. Clare Elizabeth make some delicious majicones and palm-shaped pastries.
known for its almond sweets such as tocino de cielo (a custard made with egg yolk and syrup), turrón (a nougat-like confection), alfajores (cylindrical pastries filled with honey and almonds) and amarguillos (almond macaroons). The convents of Cádiz also offer a variety of sweets such as pestinos, roscos de vino (wine doughnuts), huesos de santo and yemas.
famous for its anise liquors, its buns and nougats. You can also find Cabra nearby, where the convent of Recollet Augustinians makes some delicious bizcoletas (iced cakes).
- Puente Genil:
the home of quince jam that has been a staple for many Spanish children. You can also try some merengas de café (coffee flavoured meringues), cortadillos de coco (coconut pasties) and wine doughnuts from Aguilar de la Frontera.
a place where convent sweets are highly appreciated by the locals. The Mothers of St. James make some syrups, sweet potato powder and chocolate "bones"; the Recollect Augustinians make some curious sweets they call figs. In Santa Fe, you can enjoy the piononos, delicious babas with cream.
the cradle of the "mantecados", a type of shortbread made with lard. You can also find them in Antequera.
famous for its yemas del tajo, a sweet made with egg yolk and sugar.
- Huércal in Almería is famous for the macaroons.
- Jerez is where you can try the unique tocino de cielo, which originated from the yolks left over in the wine cellars, where the egg whites used to clarify the wine.
These are just some of the typical sweets with history in Andalusia, of course there are many more, so we recommend you to visit any pastry shop.
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