Monas de Pascua, a classical sweet for the Spanish Easter
Monas de Pascua are typical of communities such as Murcia, the Valencian Community, Catalonia or the Balearic Islands, although they are known throughout Spain. This sweet, typical of Easter, is usually enjoyed on a very important day of the year for its fans: Easter Monday. It is a tradition that the godparents of a family give this sweet to their godchildren and, when this day arrives, everyone looks for someone to crack the egg on his forehead. A somewhat painful tradition for some, but very dear to those who follow it.
As you can see from the photograph, this typical Spanish Levante bun has a hard-boiled egg in the center. It can be decorated, covered with chocolate or simply with sugar. What cannot be missing are the typical felt chicks, that children like so much. And not only children. It is very typical in regions such as Murcia or the Valencian Community to enjoy this sweet with hot chocolate. Its simple ingredients and the tradition linked to this recipe make it a perfect sweet to enjoy with the family and to have fun.
Mona de Pascua with a boiled egg in the middle | Shutterstock
Ingredients for 12 monas:
250 ml milk
25 g fresh baker’s yeast
120 g sugar
3 g lemon zest
A pinch of salt
600 g of strong flour
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
240 ml extra virgin olive oil
12 hard-boiled eggs (optional)
How to make the monas:
First, take the eggs out of the fridge to temper them. Heat the milk and, when it is lukewarm, dissolve the yeast in the milk and add a pinch of the sugar you have reserved for the dough. Stir the mixture and let the yeast ferment for about 20 minutes.
Now, in a large bowl, prepare the flour mixture with the rest of the sugar, a pinch of salt, the lemon zest and the two previously beaten eggs. When you combine everything and it is uniform, pour the milk with the yeast already incorporated in the bowl. Start mixing and knead little by little. When you get a good consistency, add the extra virgin olive oil.
After adding the oil, knead the mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes vigorously, or you can use a mixer instead. Cover the mixture with a cloth or plastic wrap, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. After this time, the dough will have puffed up. Knead again until it is elastic and easy to handle. Form a ball with the dough and cover it again in a container to rest for 2 hours. If the room is warm, 2 hours will be enough. If not, wait at least 3 hours until it doubles in size. In the meantime, prepare two trays with baking paper. Take the dough out of the bowl and make 12 small balls of approximately 100 g each. Once the balls are separated, flatten them into a small square and fold the sides towards the center. Turn them over and roll the ball carefully, pressing with your hands on the central part.
Place the monas on the trays and distribute them so that they do not stick together, well separated. Beat the reserved egg yolk in the ingredients together with a splash of milk and mix. Paint the monas with this mixture using a brush. Let them rest until they double in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Place the boiled eggs in the center of each mona. This step is optional, although traditional recipes include them as part of the monas. Add sugar to taste on top of each mona and place them in the oven at 170ºC. Bake them for 20 minutes, making sure they all receive the same heat. You can rotate the tray to make sure they are baked evenly. They should be golden brown when you take them out of the oven. Wait for them to cool on a tray and… done!