Every November 1, All Saints’ Day is celebrated, a festivity of Catholic origin that dates back to the 9th century. It is a day that is usually dedicated to spend time with the family and remember those who are no longer with us. This tradition of honouring our loved ones takes place all over Spain and also in many other countries.
Many of the festivities or celebrations tend to be associated with gastronomy and November 1st was not going to be any less. In Spain we have a multitude of sweets associated with this festivity. Moreover, as it coincides with autumn, there are many seasonal foods that are used to prepare these desserts. Below we show you some of the Spanish traditional sweets for All Saints’ Day, so that you can prepare them and celebrate this day in the best possible way.
Huesos de santo is the quintessential dessert for All Saints’ Day and also for All Souls’ Day (November, 2). It is a sweet in which the marzipan reminds one of a bone due to its whitish colour and elongated shape. It is filled with yolk cream and covered with a sugar and water glaze. The tradition of eating huesos de santo these days coincides with the almond harvesting season; the main ingredient of marzipan. Its origin dates back to the 17th century and it is believed to be original from Madrid. However, nowadays we can find huesos de santo all over Spain.
Panellets are the traditional dessert used to celebrate All Saints’ Day in Catalonia, although they are also traditional in Valencia, the Balearic Islands and Aragon. Like huesos de santo, they include marzipan in their recipe; as well as the egg, lemon zest and pine nuts that cover them. This is the traditional recipe that has been made since the 18th century. However, there are more recent recipes in which panellets are made from coffee, chocolate, coconut, orange… Their origin is unknown, but as they have an almond base they seem to come from the Arabs.
Buñuelos are traditionally eaten on the days close to All Saints’ Day. It is also a traditional sweet of the Holy Week. Buñuelos de viento are very easy to make, as their recipe consists of a spongy fried dough in the shape of a ball, which is filled with cream, pastry cream or chocolate. Its origins date back to the 10th century, when the Jews made fried buns called bimuelos to celebrate Hanukkah. These buns were later introduced into the Christian celebration of All Saints due to the influence of Jewish tradition.
Pestiños are the traditional sweet of Andalusia and other areas of southern Spain for All Saints’ Day. It is also very typical at Holy Week and Christmas. This dessert is very easy to make and the main ingredients are very affordable: flour, oil and sugar. It is also common to add lemon, honey and sherry. We know about the existence of pestiños since the 16th century, when they appeared in La Lozana Andaluza (1528) by Francisco Delicado. However, it is said that this sweet is related to the Moroccan shebbakiyya; therefore they may have a common origin, probably from Al-Ándalus.
Poleá or milk porridge is a simple dessert from the Andalusian cuisine widely eaten on All Saints’ Day. It stands out because of its basic ingredients and affordable to everyone: flour, milk and sugar. In addition, the porridge is flavoured with other ingredients such as lemon, cinnamon or anise; giving it an even more special taste. It is also common to eat the poleá with bread rolls or croutons on top. It is a traditional recipe that dates back to Al-Ándalus, mentioned by Ibn Razin al-Tuyibi in his recipe book Relieves de las mesas, acerca de las delicias de la comida y los diferentes platos (13th century).
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