Spain, alongside its rich culture and scenic beauty, has a whole lot of lip-smacking desserts to offer. Each region displays its uniqueness when it comes to presenting a sweet dish typical to only that particular area. Spanish desserts are versatile as it has it all from pastries to puddings, custards to cheesecakes. Milk, nuts, eggs, and caramel, are the major ingredients found in most of the sweet dishes. The list below of some of Spain’s sought-after sweetmeats are sure to tickle your taste buds to the fullest.
What is it: An almond cake, originating in Spain’s Galician region. Besides ground almond, the filling has sugar and eggs, while whole sweet wine, lemon zest, and brandy serve as flavorings. The round cake may have a base of shortcrust or puff pastry. In Spanish, its meaning translates to the cake of St. James. The top of the pie has a powdered sugar decoration, with a Cross of St. James’ imprint, which gives the dessert its name. This dish attained the PGI status from the EU in May 2010, the criteria being that it must have 33% of almond barring the base.
What does it taste like: Sweet, soft and spongy, while the addition of almond could make it salty and nutty, and the lemon zest may give it a sour taste.
What is it: A famous nougat round or rectangular prepared from toasted almonds, alongside egg white, honey, and sugar. Turron or torrone is mostly served during Christmas in Spain as well as Italy and many Latin American countries. The name varies in different languages, for instance, it is torró in Catalan, turon in Tagalog, and turrone in Sardinian. The earliest mention of this dessert dates back to the 16th century, referred to in the Manual de Mujeres, a handbook for women.
What does it taste like: Rich, sweet and, nutty, Turron may have a hard texture or be as soft as a toffee.
What is it: A caramel custard made with egg, vanilla, and caramel sauce. Popular in different parts of the world, flan in Spain is known as crème caramel.
What does it taste like: Soft, sweet and sticky, with the caramel sauce melting into your mouth.
What is it: A fried dough pastry originating in Portugal and Spain. The dish has also gained popularity in Ibero-America and the Philippines. The dough is a mixture of water, milk, cinnamon, flour, sugar, egg, and vanilla. The Spanish version of Churros is thin and knotted or even thick and long, referred to as Porras in certain regions. In Spain, people mostly eat it for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate, or coffee, with sugar sprinkled on the top of it.
What does it taste like: They are hard from outside and soft within, with a crispy, chewy texture. The chocolate sauce dipping transcends its taste to a different level altogether.
What is it: Alternately known as Crème brûlée, Trinity cream, or burnt cream because of its appearance, it has a custard base topped with a layer of caramelized sugar. Vanilla mostly serves as a flavoring for the custard base, though variations have come up at present. The modern version of this dessert has toppings of berries as well as other fruit pieces, served by the name of Crème brûlée aux fruits. Originating in Spain’s Catalonia, traditionally, it was often served in a shallow clay dish.
What does it taste like: Rich, creamy and delicious, every bite melting into your mouth instantly.
What is it: A donut-like dessert fried in olive oil, glazed with sugar or honey. Flavorings of sesame also go in its preparation. However, its composition and form differ from one region to the other. Pestinos attained popularity in Andalusia, and in some of its towns, it is a part of the Christmas platter. However, in other Andalusian cities, this dessert is eaten all year-round.
What does it taste like: Mouthwatering and crispy, while the addition of honey makes it exceedingly sweet.
What is it: A fried or baked turnover having a pastry as well as a filling of corn, meat, or cheese. Empanada is immensely popular in Latin Amerian countries and the Philippines. The dessert derives its name from empanar, a Spanish verb, its literal meaning translating to something coated or wrapped in bread.
What does it taste like: Savory and crispy, though the taste varies with its filling. Fillings of fruits and sprinkles of sugar make for a sweet empanada.
What is it: A Latin American confection prepared by heating sweetened milk slowly to get a dish that looks and tastes like caramel, all because of the Mallard reaction. Other ingredients include sugar and vanilla (as a flavoring). This particular sweet dish is used in candies, churros, waffles, cakes, and cookies to enhance their taste.
What does it taste like: Sweet, smooth and creamy, with its taste equaling to that of caramel.
What is it: A pastry originating in Asturias prepared from wheat flour, filled with toasted walnut and hazelnut as well as sugar, alongside flavorings of wine or anise. It attains a tube shape with a length of about 10 meters, closed at the ends.
What does it taste like: Soft and fluffy, with a nutty texture.
What is it: A custard platter, prepared from milk and eggs, alongside vanilla and cinnamon that enhances its flavor to the fullest. Spanish natillas differ from French crème anglaise, and English custard in terms of its thickness. The Colombian version of this dish known as natilla comes without eggs.
What does it taste like: Rich, thick and creamy, with vanilla and cinnamon enhancing its aroma to the fullest.
What is it: A milkshake flavored with cinnamon, lemon zest, and sugar. Beaten egg whites are added to the milk when cooled, giving it a texture similar to ice cream or smoothie.
What does it taste like: Sweet, smooth and soft, Leche Merengada is served in most ice cream stores throughout Spain.
What is it: A cake-like creamy dessert, indigenous to the Basque Country, having a whipped cream base, alongside two different layers, one of sponge cake, and the other of caramelized custard. In the northern region of Basque Country, Goxua comes with a filling of jam. One could serve Goxua in a bowl just as curd or custard or even in a clay pot as done traditionally. Luis Lopez de Sosoaga, a chef, claims of inventing it in 1977.
What does it taste like: Spongy, soft, and creamy, while the jam filling could intensify its sweetness.
What is it: A traditional, rectangular cake originating in Spain’s Sergovia made from milk, sugar, flour, eggs, almonds, cinnamon, and lemon peel. Its shape makes it resemble a big chunk of marzipan and custard. Ponche Segoviano has a topping of caramelized sugar arranged in a criss-cross pattern. The invention of this cake dates back to 1926, by Frutos García Martín, a confectioner.
What does it taste like: Soft and sugary, while the cinnamon and lemon peel add aroma and tartness.
What is it: A cream-filled puff pastry, deriving its roots from the Roda city of Spain. Manuel Blanco is the creator of this dessert who also named it Miguelitos since he desired his friend Miguel to taste his creation first. These cakes have a filling equivalent to a creamy custard, alongside a flaky crust and a coating of sugar. The fillings may also be white and dark chocolate, milk, and cream.
What does it taste like: The taste is versatile varying by the ingredients. Soft, flaky, and crusty are the dominant flavors.
What is it: A delicious cheesecake typical of Spain’s Cantabria region, prepared from sugar, milk, wheat flour, egg, and butter with flavorings of cinnamon and lemon zest.
What does it taste like: Smooth, buttery and flavorful, Quesada Pasiega tastes good when served hot or cold.
What is it: A pudding made by mixing rice with milk or water as well as ingredients like raisins and cinnamon. The flavorings or toppings differ from one country to the other One can eat this dish as a dessert or even for dinner as a part of their full course meal. Besides Spain, this rice pudding has gained popularity in different Asian countries, especially in places having rice as their staple diet.
What does it taste like: Creamy and smooth, with the feelings enhancing its flavor to the fullest.
What is it: A Spanish shortbread made with flour, milk, nuts, and sugar, most famous in Andalusia. Traditionally their preparation time spanned between September and January, though at present, their production happens all year round.
What does it taste like: Soft, crumbly, and nutty is the dominant taste of Polvoron.
What is it: A fried ball prepared from a wheat-based yeast dough, flavored with anise. A topping of sugar and cinnamon intensifies its sweetness. These round or disc-shaped balls symbolizes good luck in Latin American countries. Alternately known by a host of names such as birmuelo, and bunyol, the Morisco people of Spain consumed them traditionally
What does it taste like: A lip-smacking sugary delight which would taste the best when served with warm honey.
What is it: A tasty sweet indigenous to northern Spain, prepared by mixing flour along with sugar and milk, and cooking until it forms a thick consistency. The dough is fried and then served along with cinnamon powder as well as a sugar glaze.
What does it taste like: Delicious, sweet, warm, and crunchy, often served with an ice cream scoop.
The list does not end here, as the names are endless, like Pionono (sweet or savory pastries), Torrija (French toast), and Xuixo (a cylindrical cake). So on your next visit to Spain, do keep in mind to gorge on these delightful desserts.
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