Due to Spain’s history of trade and conquest all over Europe, Spanish desserts have influences from many regions.
Because Spain borders France, many desserts have a French flair. Read on for a list of 13 Spanish desserts that will transcend your tastebuds.
Turron is an ancient dessert that comes from Spain’s ties to Arabic regions. It is a fudge-like square dessert traditionally made of egg whites, almonds and honey. Nowadays, turrones come in dozens of flavors.
There are two main types: Turron de Jijona and Turron de Alicante. Both use the same ingredients but the first is a soft nougat while the other is a hard candy.
This Spanish dessert is a common treat at Christmas. There are even sugar-free options for those on a low or sugar-free diet.
In Spanish, manteca means butter or lard. So mantecados means “buttered.” And if you try these small cookies, you’ll know exactly why.
Mantecados are soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies that are light and airy. They are similar to shortbread cookies.
They have a subtle citrus taste from the lemon zest that is blended with the buttery goodness.
This is another popular dessert in Spain around Christmastime but will be a crowd-pleaser any time of the year.
Best of all, these cookies are simple to make and require just a few ingredients. With butter, oil, sugar, an egg, flour, and a lemon, you can make this Spanish dessert at home.
Some people add almond slivers and anise for a different taste.
No list of Spanish desserts is complete with mentioning churros. This delectable pastry is popular all over central and South America, too.
They are not just a post-meal dessert but can be eaten anytime, anywhere. Churros are portable, snackable and sharable.
Basically, they are long strands of deep-fried pastry dough. You use a frosting tip and a pastry bag to squeeze the dough to form the distinctive churro tube.
Once deep-fried, churros are dipped in a cinnamon and brown sugar mixture until they are coated completely.
Then, you can dip them in bowls of melted chocolate, caramel, strawberry or any other type of sauce you desire.
Some churros are also piped full of these sauces so there’s no need to dip. If you love cinnamon and brown sugar, you will love this famous Spanish dessert.
Another world-famous Spanish dessert is flan. This dessert is so versatile that there are hundreds of flavors such as coconut flan, chocolate flan, cheese flan and so on.
Flan is a moist dessert that has the consistency of jello. You make this dessert by combining sugar, eggs, and milk and then pouring the mixture into a mold.
Then, you take the mold and place it in a water bath (or baño Maria). The flan needs to cook on medium heat and then cool.
Once the flan cools, you simply turn it upside down on a platter for a beautiful, wobbly mountain that tastes like caramel and milk.
What could be better?
5. Leche Frita
Leche frita literally means fried milk. This Spanish dessert comes from Northern Spain.
You cook flour in milk with sugar until it thickens to form a dough. The dough is chilled overnight (or at least for 3 hours).
Then you cut it up into pieces and fry it in oil. Once cooked, you sprinkle a sugary glaze and cinnamon on top.
Though this Spanish dessert is easy to make, it does require pre-planning since it needs to be refrigerated. Otherwise, it will fall apart when you try to fry it.
The end result is a cold, firm cream-like filling encased in a crunchy fried sweet shell. Yum!
6. Quesada Pasiega
Quesada pasiega is a Spanish dessert that is common in Cantabria, Spain. In essence, it is a Spanish cheesecake.
It has the texture of a thick pudding and can be served warm or cold. It is made from flour, cheese, milk, eggs, sugar, and butter and is lightly flavored with lemon zest and cinnamon.
Traditionally, cuajada cheese is used to make this Spanish dessert. Yet, that may be harder to get in certain places. Ricotta is an excellent substitute that works just as well.
Once it’s baked you can top it with fresh fruit or jam or enjoy it as is. This creamy and delicious dessert is a must-try.
7. Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana (or Catalan Cream in English) is a Spanish version of creme brulee. It is commonly served on March 19 for St. Joseph’s Feast Day.
But you can enjoy this delicious custardy dessert at restaurants or at home any day of the year.
If you are a fan of creme custard, you will love crema Catalana. To make, you whip egg yolks with sugar and then bake them in ramekin cups.
Next, use a kitchen torch to lightly burn the top layer to make a carmelized hard shell. Dip your spoon in and enjoy the smooth, delicate flavor of Crema Catalana.
In Spain, this Spanish dessert is so popular, there is even Crema Catalana flavored ice cream!
Buñuelos are small fluffy fritters that make a great snack. They are a very popular dessert in Spain.
A buñuelo is a fried dough ball. They are filled with pastry cream, jam, or egg custard. Buñuelos are dusted with icing sugar for a delectable mini treat.
They are often eaten for breakfast with coffee as well as after dinner.
Polvorones are another traditional Spanish Christmas cookie. The word “polvo” means “powder” in Spanish as these cookies will crumble to a powder-like consistency once you touch or eat them. Polvorones are crumbly in tecture and typically flavored with almonds. An absolute must in every Spanish household during Christmas.
Spanish Natilla is a perfect way to end your meal. I say Spanish because other countries have their own version of natilla. Spain’s natilla is a custard dish made with milk and eggs. Some versions do not use eggs in the recipe. Natilla will typically be dusted on top with cinnamon and don’t forget your Maria cookies.
The Spanish sure do enjoy their Christmas sweets. Pestiños are traditional Christmas pastries most popular in Andalusia and other Southern regions of Spain. Pestiños are fried and made from flour, aniseed, olive oil, wine and a little sugar.
12. Tarta de Santiago
Tarta de Santiago or Torta de Santiago is a traditional Spanish almond cake, occasionaly made with an addition of lemon zest and cinnamon. Tarta de Santiago means St. James cake in English. So naturally, the cake is powdered with sugar but leaving an imprint of the St James cross on top. It is especially popular in the Galician region of Spain.
Miguelitos de la Roda or simply Miguelitos are traditional small Spanish cakes consisting of soft puff pastry with a creamy custard-like filling and covered with powdery sugar. A perfect Spanish dessert to accompany your cafe con leche.
Final Thoughts on Spanish Desserts
Spanish desserts vary by region. This list of 13 popular desserts in Spain gives you a good idea of the types of sweet-tooth satisfaction you can enjoy from Spanish desserts.
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