Easter week, known as Semana Santa, in Spanish speaking countries is one of the most important celebrations of the year. Streets fill with colour and festivity, and families gather together to enjoy traditional Easter cuisine. From honey-soaked torrijas to salty bacalao croquettes, we bring you 5 of our favourite Semana Santa recipes.
Bueñlos de viento
(Homemade Spanish Easter doughnut)
Bueñlos are a delicious home-made sweet treat enjoyed by many locals during Semana Santa. These light and fluffy bite-sized doughnuts are fried in olive oil and rolled in sugar.
(makes approx 24 bueñlos)
- 2 tbsp butter
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4.5 oz white flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3-4 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Cinnamon powder
- Pour water, butter, lemon zest, granulated sugar and a pinch of salt into a sauce pan and bring to boil. As soon as the water boils, stir in the flour and baking powder. Stir constantly until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Take off the heat and allow to cool down.
- When the dough is no longer hot, but still warm, stir in the eggs one at a time. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Set aside for 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Pour approximately 1.5 inches of vegetable oil into a large heavy-bottomed heated frying pan. When the oil is hot enough to fry, begin dropping spoonfuls of the dough into the oil. Turn over when the bottom is golden. The bueñlos should turn a golden colour and begin to float when cooked. Remove them one at a time fromt he pan and allow to drain on a paper towel.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon and serve immeadiately.
This Easter recipe is best eaten with a hot chocolate or strong coffee!
(Salt cod croquettes)
Salt cod is a very popular Semana Santa food throughout Spanish speaking countries. The Catholic tradition prohibits eating meat on holy days and therefore salt cod is a way of preparing a delicious meal which is free from meat. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, bacalao croquettes make a mouth-watering delicious addition to a tapas spread.
- 250 grams of salt cod
- 1 medium sweet onion (or 3 shallots) diced
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups of milk (room temperature)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 beaten eggs
- Black pepper
- Bread crumbs
- First de-salt the cod by soaking it in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water at least 3 times.
- After soaking, drain the water and shred the cod into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a pan and add the diced onion, cooking for about 10 minutes until the onion is browned. Add in the shredded cod and black pepper. Heat altogether for a few minutes before taking off the heat.
- In a large pan on medium heat, add the butter. Then sift the flour to get in lumps, and add in the sifted flour to the butter. Constantly stir until it starts to form a ball and turn a golden colour.
- Whisk in one cup of milk, and whilst constantly stirring add in the pepper and nutmeg.
- When the mixture had absorbed one cup of milk, add in the other two and stir until you have a dough with a good consistency.
- Add in the cod and onion mixture and mix together.
- Let the dough cool and then pop in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, make small balls out of the mixture and roll them over the beaten eggs and then breadcrumbs.
- Deep fry the balls in hot oil and enjoy these crispy delights!
This delicious dessert is a favourite during Semana Santa and similar to French toast. However, what makes torrijas different is the variety of ways it can be prepared. Instead of soaking the bread in milk, a Spanish torrija can be soaked in wine! Here’s a delicious recipe:
(makes 4-6 servings)
- 1 day old bread loaf, cut into diagonal slices
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 strips of orange peel
- 1 cup of dry red wine
- 3 eggs, well beaten
For syrup ~
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 2-3 strips of orange peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Add the milk, sugar, orange peel and cinnamon stick in a saucepan.
- Heat on a medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly
- Place slices of bread in a deep dish. Pour the mixture created above over the slices of bread.
- Pour red wine over the bread, turning the slices so they soak up as much of the mixture as possible.
- Add olive oil to a large pan and heat over a medium heat.
- Lift the soaked bread slices and dip into the beaten eggs, coating evenly.
- Add the bread to the hot oil and turn until brown on both sides for approx 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
To make the syrup, mix all the syrup ingredients apart from the vanilla in a saucepan and bring to boil. Then remove from heat and add the vanilla while it is still warm.
The syrup can be poured over the torrijas or on the side. A delicious sweet treat!
Puré de cuaresma
(Traditional Easter soup)
During Easter in Spain, several types of stews and soups are prepared, including puré de cuaresma – a soup made with chickpeas, cod, potatoes, leeks and carrots. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to rustle this up:
- 250g of chickpeas
- 6 leeks, sliced
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 x clove garlic, diced
- Parsley chopped
- 250g potatoes
- 250g carrots chopped
- 250g cod
- Soak the chickpeas and cod in cold water for 24 hours to de-salt. Change the water at least 3 times.
- Once soaked, shred the cod removing bones.
- Add the chickpeas and shredded cod to a pan with hot water.
- Add the chopped onion, garlic, parsley, chopped carrots and sliced leeks and cook together. Season with salt to your preference
- Let everything cook until very tender.
- Fry garlic in a separate pan and pour over the puree. Stir and leave to cook for a few minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve hot with fried bread squares!
Mona de pascua
(Easter sweet bread)
Mona de Pascua is a very traditional pastry eaten during Easter time, particularly in Catalonia and the Valencia areas. It derives from the Arabic word munna, meaning gift.
- 500g flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 25g yeast
- 150g sugar
- 60g butter
- 300ml milk
- 1 egg beaten
- 15ml orange blossom water
- 1 orange zest
- Candied colourful sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Mix together flour and salt and then make a hole in the middle of the mixture.
- Add the yeast, sugar, milk, butter, orange zest, egg and orange blossom water into the hole. Mix together well until the dough is thin.
- Leave dough to stand for 1.5 hours and cover it with a damp towel.
- Then divide the dough into several parts. Give the dough a round ring shape.
- Beat an egg and draw a few lines with a knife on top of each ring dough shape. Sprinkle with sugar and decorate with colourful candied sweets as you want. Let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.
- Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
We hope you enjoy these delicious Spanish Easter recipes and wish you a Feliz Pascua!
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