Sweet potato pastissets are one of the most typical desserts in the whole cuisine of the Valencian Community. Also called Pastissos de Nadal in Valencia and Castellón because they are very traditional for Christmas, they are also prepared throughout the region for all those celebrations where tradition and culture are present. This is why there is no shortage of sweet potato pastissets at Holy Week or All Saints’ Day, as well as every Christmas, of course.
It is an interesting sweet as the filling is made from sweet potato jam, yams or moniato, as this tuber is called in Alicante. This rich jam flavoured with lemon and cinnamon is wrapped in a delicious simple dough in the form of an empanadilla. Without a doubt, this is a dessert that is worth preparing in order to continue learning about the most deeply rooted recipes of our history.
Ingredients for the Sweet Potato Pastissets
- 1 kg of sweet potatoes
- 800 g of sugar for the jam
- 1 kg of flour
- 2 lemon peels
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 250 ml of dry anise
- 375 ml sunflower oil
- 250 g of sugar
- 250 ml water
How to Make It
- First, prepare the sweet potato jam, as it must be kept in the fridge for at least one day. To do this you must cook the sweet potatoes in the oven; this is the best way for them to retain all their flavour without losing anything on the way. That is why we do not recommend cooking them in water.
- To cook them, you only need to put them clean and with the skin in an oven preheated to 170ºC; on parchment paper to avoid messing the tray. The cooking time will depend on the size of the sweet potatoes, but for a few tubers of 400-500 g the time will be around 60 minutes approximately. To check if they are done, you must prick them and if the knife comes out without difficulty, they are done. Take them out of the oven and let them cool down a bit.
- Once they are warm, peel the sweet potatoes and put them in a bowl where they will be crushed until they are a fine puree without lumps. The potato masher can also be used.
- It is the turn of the sugar. You will need the same amount of it as for the sweet potato puree. To do this you weigh the puree and act accordingly (traditional desserts have usually a lot of sugar). In order for the recipe to be perfect with about 30 medium sized pastissets, you must obtain 1 kg of sweet potato puree at the end.
- Put the mashed potatoes and sugar in a tall saucepan and add the lemon peel, the cinnamon stick and the water to the mixture. Then cook over a medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has a thick jam texture. Let it cool down to room temperature and leave it in the fridge for at least one day to rest.
- The next day, put in a bowl the sunflower oil, the dry anise, the 250 g sugar and half the kilo of flour. Knead the mixture as you add the other half of the kilo of flour until you get a compact and smooth but not dry texture; otherwise the pastissets dough once baked will be sandy and excessively hard. Leave the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature and then it will stretch better.
- Divide the dough into 30 balls of the same size so that the pastissets are equal. Then, make circles with the help of a rolling pin to create the base of the pastissets. Also take the sweet potato jam out of the fridge ready to be filled.
- Take each of the empanadillas you have made and fill them with a teaspoon of jam. It is not necessary to add too much as the latter will have a very intense flavour. When you have finished filling, you can mark the edge with a fork as if it were a tuna empanadilla. You can also leave them as they are, without pressing the edges.
- Once the pastissets are finished, it is time to bake them on a tray with parchment paper at 190ºC until they are golden. Before taking them to the oven, you can sprinkle sugar grains to make the result more colourful. Once baked, let them cool down on a rack and they will be ready to be tasted!