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Thursday, July 31, 2014 (read 2270 times)
Great Spanish Summer Dessertsby David
Now that summer is here we should take a look at something that always captures peoples attention—Dessert. Spain is probably better known, gastronomically speaking, for its tapas, pinchos and fabulous entrees. But here dessert, although not as famous as other culinary aspects, is just as varied as the landscape with regional specialites playing a very important role in their place on your table.
Five Spanish Desserts
Let's look at five desserts that go especially well with the heat that comes with summer to help refresh you as well as satisfy your sweet tooth. The first dessert is called quesada pasiega which comes from Cantabria along Spain's northern coast. More concretely this is originally from the Pasiegos Valley located in the rugged mountains overlooking Santander. Curiously this is also the home to the famous breakfast bread sobaos pasiegos that are found all over Spain.
Quesada is a pudding-like pastry made from milk curds, butter, flour, eggs and sugar. You will also find other ingredients added like lemon or vanilla for additional flavor. This dessert embodies the pastry tradition of this mountainous and rugged region that is comparable in appearance to the Swiss Alps. Here, like in the Alps, there raising of cows for milk and cheese is a vital part of the region and products made with milk products are very popular and have a long tradition in the culture of Cantabria. The first mention of Quesada appears in a book called El Libro de Buen Amor from the 14th century. If you'd like to try your hand at making a quesada you can find a good recipe here.
Another outstanding summer dessert is flan de limon. You may know flan already since it is a common dessert in most Spanish and Latin American homes. Many people especially love caramel syrup that goes with flan or even a dollop of whipped cream to accompany. The flan that I'm going to mention here is a spin on the traditional recipe because lemon is the protagonist of this flan. This recipe comes from Bruno Oteiza, a popular Spanish chef from the Basque Country. The history of Flan dates back to the Roman Empire and today it continues to be a favorite all around the world. Fortunately, thanks to modern cooking utensils making a good flan is as easy as one, two and three!
Fried Milk! Leche frita sounds awfully strange for a dessert name but this is the name given to this popular dish. This is a dessert also from the north of Spain with many provinces proclaiming the honor of being the creator of this dish but the province of Palencia seems to be the most likely. If it weren't for leche frita there would be few things Palencia could brag about. This dessert is cooking a mixture of flour, milk and sugar to create a thick paste which is then fried in oil—olive oil, so that should take a little of the guilt away. This dessert goes great with some ice-cream, ideal for a warm summer evening. At this website there is nothing but leche frita!
Heavenly lard is another dish that doesn’t quite translate nicely in English. Tocino del cielo, however has a different ring to it and sound a little more celestial. Created by nuns from the Convent of the Holy Spirit in Jerez de la Frontera, this egg yolk based dessert can be easily confused for flan. The two are similar in appearance but in taste they are quite different. Since Jerez is the home to Sherry wine, eggs were an important commodity; especially the egg whites. The whites were used to clarify the wine but this posed a little problem—what to do with all the yolks that were left over? The nuns, being as practical as they are and being careful not waste a good food product (remember this is 1323!) they decided to make something sweet. The only ingredients you'll need for this dessert is egg yolks, sugar and water (and a little divine intervention if your cooking skills are questionable). Here's a good recipe if you want to try it.
As you can see, Spanish desserts are the result of what was available locally at the time they were created. This reliance on the season and availability of ingredients has created a variety of dishes that dot the Spanish countryside. Here are just a few examples of the many offerings waiting for the Spanish adventurer. If you can't come here to try, at least you have some recipes to help you taste a little bit of the Spanish kitchen.
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Posted In: Culture