Huesos de santo, together with buñuelos and panellets, are the quintessential dessert for All Saints’ Day (November 1), although they are delicious at any time of year. This is a marzipan sweet filled with egg yolk cream, with a glaze on the outside, which is shaped like a bone due to its white colour and elongated shape. The huesos de santo recipe needs a couple of hours of rest; so take into account the time you need to prepare them if you want them to be ready for All Saints’ Day.
Huesos de santo have been part of the traditional Spanish cuisine since the 17th century, although marzipan was already used since the Arab presence in the peninsula. It is said that their origin can be found in Madrid, as they are mentioned in the book by Francisco Martínez Montiño, Philip II’s cook, Arte de Cocina (1611). Thus, this sweet has spread throughout Spain, being characteristic of the celebration of All Saints’ Day mentioned above and the All Souls’ Day (November 2); period that coincides with the almond harvesting season (ingredient used to make marzipan).
Ingredients for the huesos de santo recipe:
For the marzipan:
- 175 g ground almonds
- 150 g of sugar
- 80 ml water
For the egg yolk cream:
- 4 egg yolks
- 100 g of sugar
- 50 ml water
For the glaze:
- 100 g of icing sugar
- 30 ml water
How to Make It:
Marzipan of the huesos de santo:
- Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Turn on the fire and stir until it starts to boil. Then, leave it for a few seconds, turn off the fire and let it cool down slightly.
- In a bowl, put the ground almond and add, little by little, the syrup you just made with the sugar and water. Add it gradually as you integrate it and mix it with the almond. You have to form a consistent paste. When it is well integrated, knead it with your hands until it does not stick to your fingers too much. Make a ball and let it cool down.
- When the dough has cooled down, put parchment paper on the table and place it on top. Knead it until it forms a cylinder. Sprinkle the parchment with icing sugar, put the dough back on top and smooth it out with a rolling pin. Stretch it out until it is about 3 millimetres thick.
- Use a ruler to cut off the excess dough to form a rectangle. Then make 7 x 5 cm pieces by cutting them with a knife. The marzipan that is left over can be stretched again to make more pieces. Then take a stick (like the one of a Moorish skewer) or something shaped like a cylinder to make the typical undulations of the huesos de santo, by lightly pressing the stick or the utensil you choose onto the dough.
- Carefully remove the 7×5 pieces that you have cut and, in the side that has no marks, pour icing sugar over everything except the edge of the widest part. To form the rolls, place a stick in the piece of marzipan (in the part without marks) and roll the dough around it. There will be a little bit left at the end, the edge to which you have not added sugar, which is what you have to stick with a brush and a little bit of water. Take out the stick carefully, finish rolling it up and repeat this process with all the portions.
- When you have shaped your upcoming huesos de santo, let them dry for about an hour and a half.
- Make another syrup with water and sugar, pouring both into a saucepan and waiting for it to boil. When it starts to boil, leave it a few more seconds and then let it cool down.
- Put a pot on the fire with water and place a container on top to make a bain-marie. While the water is heating up; beat the yolks and then add the syrup (which will be already warm) little by little, while stirring.
- Pour the mixture of the yolks and the syrup into the container where you will make the bain-marie. Then, stir constantly until it thickens, which will take about 15-20 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and let it cool down completely.
- Put some of the icing sugar (two spoonfuls) in a bowl with a splash of water and stir. Stir until it thickens and then add both ingredients gradually until you get the desired texture. Ideally, it should be a little lighter than condensed milk. Set aside.
Final preparation of the huesos de santo:
- Put the yolk cream in a pastry bag with a long nozzle and fill with it the marzipan that you had already made into rolls for the huesos de santo.
- When all the rolls have their yolk cream filling, dip each one into the glaze, bathing it well. Afterwards, let them dry in the fridge, and you can enjoy your huesos de santo!