Bartolillos, the cream-filled buñuelos of Madrid

Madrid, craddle of cultures, has always been nourished by traditions and customs of all the people who have lived in its streets. And there have been so many people who have inhabited these lands, that the origin of the bartolillos is lost in memory and time. These buñuelos are nothing more than pastries, but filled with cream. A very aromatic dessert, with the typical spices of Easter, and very easy to make, the result is worth the effort.

Some say that it came from the hand of the first Romans who visited the lands of Madrid, at that time still almost virgin. Others find its origin in similar desserts prepared in the time of Al Ándalus. Anyway, this dessert, brought almost to extinction, is still prepared in some places in Madrid, resisting to die.


Bartolillos | Shutterstock

Ingredients for the bartolillos:

For the custard filling

  • 250 ml of milk
  • 65 g of sugar
  • 25 g of cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • The peel of ½ orange
  • The peel of 1 lemon

For the dough

  • 300 g of flour
  • 75 g of olive oil or lard
  • 100 ml sweet white wine or aniseed
  • 30 g of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt

How to make the bartolillos:

  1. First, put 200 ml of milk together with the cinnamon, the lemon and the orange in a saucepan. Bring to medium/high heat until it boils. Once it is slightly boiling, turn the heat off and set the saucepan aside for 1 hour or until it is tempered. Strain it and put it in the saucepan again.
  2. In the 50 ml of reserved cold milk, put the cornstarch and the whole egg until they melt. With the help of a whisk, stir it well. Add this mixture to the saucepan with the rest of the milk. And then, add the sugar.
  3. Bring the saucepan to high heat and stir constantly for about 10 minutes. The mixture should thicken until getting a perfect pastry cream. Transfer it to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to let it cool while preparing the dough below.
  4. In a bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt. Stir lightly and then add the white wine and the oil or lard. Stir with your hands until you get a shiny and not sticky dough.
  5. After letting the dough rest for 1 hour, divide it into 40 g portions. Roll each portion in an elongated form with the help of a rolling pin. Don’t add flour until it is 1 mm thick. Add 1 teaspoon of pastry cream in the center and close the bartolillo by pressing the edges well.
  6. With the help of a knife, trim the edges of the bartolillo to give it a triangular shape.
  7. Finally, place a frying pan over medium/high heat filled with oil, preferably sunflower oil. Fry the bartolillos for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Take them out and let them rest on absorbent paper and then sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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