Saturday, April 28, 2018


In Spain, cakes, pastries and sweets are not traditionally served as dessert (postre) following a meal. Rather they turn up at any time of the day or night, as an accompaniment to coffee or tea for merienda, with decanters of sweet wine and anise liqueur when guests come calling and as special treats on fiesta days.

Many typical sweets have saints’ names and are made only once a year, for festivities to honor a village patron saint. Some are so local that they’re found nowhere else. Others are made in many regions, but often with different names. To confuse things even more, the same name might be used in different regions for completely different sweets.

These honey-glazed buns are made with an easy choux paste dough.

That seems to be the case with these little buns. Called almojábanas in Spanish, they turn up in the Alicante and Murcia regions as a pâte â choux pastry (made with oil instead of butter) and baked, while in Andalusia, they are fried doughnuts.

In Murcia, these pastries are served for saints’ day festivities. There is no sugar in the pastry dough, but the finished buns are glazed with sugar or honey syrup. They’re lovely split open and filled with whipped cream or cream cheese.

The name, almojábanas, comes from the Arabic al muyabbana, meaning  “mixture with cheese.” But, curiously, the current-day recipe for the pastry doesn’t include cheese. I’ve put the cheese back into the pastry dough, using queso fresco, fresh goat’s cheese, mashed. Fromage frais or well-drained ricotta could be used.

Lots of eggs give the pastries a lovely golden color.

Buns are spongy on the inside. They can be split open and filled with cream or cheese.

Honey-Glazed Buns

Makes 16 (3 ½-inch) buns

1/3 cup olive oil plus more for shaping the buns
1 ¼ cups water
Pinch of aniseed (optional)
2 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 eggs
3 ounces queso fresco, mashed
For the honey glaze
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water

Flour with oil and water makes stiff dough.

Combine the oil, water and aniseed, if using, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour and salt. Use a wooden spoon or paddle to mix the flour until smooth. Dough will be very stiff. Return the pan to a low heat and cook 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.

Mix one egg at a time.
Dough absorbs egg.

Break one egg into the dough. Use the wooden spoon to mix in the egg until it is completely absorbed. Continue to add one egg at a time until all are beaten into the dough. Stir in the mashed cheese.

Dip a tablespoon into a small bowl of oil. Use it to drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Dip a finger into the oil and make holes in the center of the mounds of batter.

Drop spoonfuls of dough on baking sheets. Dip finger in oil and make holes in center of the mounds of dough.
Bake the buns until golden, about 25 minutes. Remove the buns from the baking sheet and let them cool completely on a rack.

Let buns cool on a rack so they dry thoroughly.

Dip buns in honey.

Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer the honey 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour the honey into a shallow pan. While honey is still warm, dip each bun, topside down, into the honey syrup. Use a wooden skewer to lift them out. Place on a rack to dry.

Bun sprinkled with powdered sugar.

More recipes for pastries and buns:

No comments:

Post a Comment