Spain has a rich culinary tradition, and its desserts are no exception. Here are some of the most famous Spanish desserts:
A churro is a type of fried dough pastry that is popular in Spanish and Latin American cuisine. Churros are typically made from a simple dough mixture of flour, water, and salt, piped through a star-shaped nozzle and deep-fried until crispy and golden brown.
Once cooked, churros are often dusted with sugar and cinnamon. They may be served with a dipping sauce such as chocolate or dulce de leche. Churros can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert and are often sold by street vendors or at fairs and festivals.
Turron is a traditional Spanish confection with almonds, honey, and sugar. The mixture is cooked until it reaches a hard, crunchy consistency, similar to nougat. Turron is a popular dessert during the Christmas season in Spain and is often given as a gift.
There are two main types of turron: soft and hard. Soft turron, or turron de Jijona, is made by grinding almonds into a paste and mixing it with honey and sugar to create a soft, chewy texture. Hard turron, or turron de Alicante, is made with whole almonds mixed with caramelized sugar and honey to create a crunchy texture.
Turron has a long history in Spain and is believed to have originated in Jijona in the province of Alicante. Today, turron is produced in many regions throughout Spain. It is enjoyed during the Christmas season and throughout the year.
Crema Catalana is a traditional dessert from Catalonia, Spain, similar to crème brûlée. It is a custard made with milk, sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch and is flavoured with lemon or orange zest and cinnamon. The custard is cooked on the stove until it thickens and is then poured into individual serving dishes to cool and set.
Once the custard has set, it is traditionally topped with a layer of sugar and caramelized with a kitchen torch or under the broiler. The result is a crispy, caramelized layer on the smooth and creamy custard.
Crema Catalana is typically served as a dessert after meals or during special occasions and is often enjoyed alongside a glass of sweet wine, such as muscatel or moscatel. It is a delicious and classic dessert beloved in Catalonia and far beyond.
Ensaimada is a pastry that originates from the Spanish island of Mallorca. It is a sweet, spiral-shaped bread typically dusted with powdered sugar and filled with various fillings such as cream, chocolate, or fruit. The dough is made from flour, sugar, eggs, milk, yeast, and sometimes pork lard, which gives it a distinctive flavour and texture.
Traditionally, ensaimadas are made by hand and take several hours to prepare. The dough must be carefully kneaded and allowed to rise several times. Once the dough has risen, it is rolled out into thin strips coiled into the characteristic spiral shape. The ensaimadas are baked until golden brown and crispy on the outside while still soft and fluffy on the inside.
Ensaimadas are a famous pastry in Spain and are often eaten for breakfast or as a snack with coffee or hot chocolate. They can also be found in other Spanish-speaking countries, such as the Philippines and Puerto Rico, where they are often served as desserts.
Torrijas are a traditional Spanish dessert similar to French toast or bread pudding. They are typically made by soaking slices of stale bread in milk, eggs, and sugar and then frying them in olive oil until golden brown. Once cooked, torrijas are often sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and sometimes drizzled with honey or sweet syrup.
Torrijas are typically served as a dessert or a sweet snack and are trendy during the Easter season in Spain. They are also sometimes enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon snack with coffee or tea.
While torrijas are traditionally made with bread, many recipe variations use different types of bread or incorporate other ingredients like wine or spices. Some recipes also call for the torrijas to be soaked in a sweetened milk mixture overnight before they are fried, giving them a softer texture and a richer flavour.
Rosquillas are a Spanish pastry typically fried and made from a dough consisting of flour, sugar, eggs, and sometimes butter or oil. They can be flavoured with anise, lemon zest, or cinnamon. Rosquillas are often shaped into rings or small balls and deep-fried until golden brown.
There are several types of rosquillas in different regions of Spain. For example, in Castilla-La Mancha, an area in central Spain, rosquillas are often made with anise and coated in a glaze made from sugar and egg white. In the region of Madrid, rosquillas are often flavoured with lemon and covered in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
Rosquillas are typically enjoyed as a snack or dessert and are often served with coffee or tea. They are a popular treat during holidays and special occasions. They can also be found in bakeries and pastry shops throughout Spain.
“Pastisset” is a traditional pastry from the Valencian Community in Spain. It is a small, sweet empanada made with a pastry crust and filled with a sweet filling typically made with pumpkin, sweet potato, or almonds. The filling is usually sweetened with sugar and flavoured with cinnamon, lemon zest, or other spices.
The pastry crust is made with flour, butter or lard, sugar, salt, and sometimes egg yolks. The dough is rolled out and cut into rounds, then filled with the sweet filling and sealed with a fork. The pastisset is then baked until golden brown and crispy.
Pastissets are often enjoyed as a snack or dessert. They are prevalent during festivals and holidays in the Valencian Community, such as Christmas and Easter.
Leche Frita is a traditional Spanish dessert that translates to “Fried Milk” in English. It is a sweet, creamy dessert made from milk, sugar, flour, eggs, and cinnamon. The mixture is typically cooked until it thickens and then poured into a mould to set. Once set, it is cut into squares or rectangles and coated in breadcrumbs before being fried until golden brown.
After being fried, Leche Frita is typically served warm and often dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. It has a rich, creamy texture and a sweet, cinnamon-infused flavour making it a popular dessert throughout Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.
While Leche Frita is traditionally made with cow’s milk, variations of the recipe may include other types of milk, such as goat’s milk or almond milk, as well as additional flavourings like lemon zest or vanilla extract.
Panellets are a traditional dessert from Catalonia, Spain, typically eaten during the celebration of All Saints’ Day (Tots Sants in Catalan) on November 1st. They are small, sweet, round-shaped cakes made with ground almonds, sugar, and eggs. Panellets are usually covered with pine nuts, although other toppings such as coconut, cocoa powder, or candied fruit can be used.
To make panellets, ground almonds are mixed with sugar and eggs until a dough is formed. The dough is then divided into small portions and shape into balls rolled in pine nuts or other toppings. The panellets are then baked until golden brown.
In addition to being a popular dessert during All Saints’ Day, panellets are also enjoyed throughout the autumn and winter months in Catalonia, often accompanied by a glass of sweet wine or a cup of hot chocolate.
Polvoron is a traditional Spanish shortbread cookie typically made with flour, sugar, and a combination of ground nuts such as almonds or hazelnuts. The cookies are crumbly and delicate and often have a slightly powdery texture, hence the name “polvo”, which means powder in Spanish.
To make Spanish polvorones, the ingredients are mixed and then shaped into small rounds or squares. They are then baked until they are slightly golden on the outside. Once they are done, they are dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon.
Polvorones are a popular treat during the Christmas season in Spain. They are often given as gifts to family and friends. They are also enjoyed throughout the year as a sweet snack or dessert.
There are many variations of polvorones, including those made with chocolate or flavoured with citrus zest. Some recipes also call for adding spices such as cinnamon or cloves for an extra burst of flavour.