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Holy Week – or Easter week – is one of the most important festivities in the Spanish calendar. Apart from processions and other religious ceremonies, it’s the time of year to revive a whole host of decades or centuries-old recipes to create delicious desserts traditionally enjoyed during Holy Week.
Some have become popular across Spain, but many others are local delicacies hailing from specific regions: In both Castile and Andalusia, for example, there are many patisserie shops that specialise in making these special Easter treats.
Want to know more about the traditional sweets and pastries eaten at this time of year? Check out this list we’ve compiled just for you over at the Record go blog.
Traditional sweets to treat yourself this Easter
- Torrija (French toast). We couldn’t start this list with any other contender. The torrija is the Holy Week dessert par excellence. It’s so popular that no other sweet even comes close. Simplicity is the key to its success: bread, milk, egg, sugar and cinnamon made it a great high-energy snack for field workers and manual labourers. If you’ve never tried milk torrijas, don’t hold back this Easter, now’s the time to try!
- Buñuelos (fritters). A few weeks earlier, during the Fallas in Valencia, the pumpkin fritter (or sometimes made using another ingredient) is the best-selling sweet in the city’s churrerías, but its popularity means demand extends on until Easter. The most popular of the so-called “fruits of the frying pan” or “Lent fritters” are those flavoured with either liqueur or grated citrus zest, although the simple buñuelo de viento is also a popular classic.
- Pestiños (honey fritters). Not-so-distant relatives of traditional Passover sweets and the very similar Moroccan shebbakiyya, pestiños are eaten both at Christmas and Easter and, like all the desserts on our list… they’re definitely high in energy! How do you like your pestiño? Coated in sugar or dipped in honey?
- Rosquillas fritas, a variation on the ring doughnut, fall into the same category as the torrija for their simplicity and perennial popularity. These sweets are so ubiquitous that they’ve come to form part of Spain’s cultural and gastronomic DNA. The traditional recipe comes from Andalusia and has its roots in Arabic cuisine.
- Huesillos extremeños (fritters from Extremadura) The cousin of the Andalusian rosquilla. “All Saints’ bones” are not only eaten over Halloween but also during Holy Week, another doughnut-like dessert just as popular as the others in this list.
- “Fried milk”. A dessert very similar in essence to the milk torrija. Featuring prominently on Lent and Easter menus, it’s so tasty that it’s often nicknamed “the sweet croquette”.
- Borrachuelos malagueños (wine fritters from Malaga). Without a doubt, the most traditional of Malaga’s Holy Week sweets. This fritter is very similar to the pestiño, but dipped in wine. Hence the popular name of this dessert, borrachuelo or the “drunken” dessert. If you still haven’t tried a sweet potato borrachuelo, what are you waiting for!
- “Fried flowers”. Another traditional sweet from Extremadura, although also popular in Galicia. More than its taste or ingredients, the defining feature of this dessert is its shape, giving it its unusual name, “fried flower”.
- Alpisteras (pastries soaked in sherry). One of Easter’s most traditional sweets, also known as the penitents’ sweet. They are very popular in Cadiz, especially Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and the classic recipe dictates they be soaked in manzanilla sherry.
- Hojuelas, also known as orelletes, are traditional sweets from Valencia which, although they are made all year round (including during the August festivals), are usually eaten during Holy Week and Easter.
- La mona de Pascua (Easter cake). Just as Holy Week ends and Easter begins, this traditional sweet, especially in the Valencian Community and Catalonia, takes centre stage. This traditional cake is similar to a circular loaf in shape, with a hard-boiled egg set into the middle. In recent times however, following the example of other countries, the egg or other features made entirely of chocolate have become popular, and in many places are also known as a mona.
Fancy taking a trip to the home of these delicious traditional desserts? Take advantage of our offers on car hire this Holy Week and treat yourself to the first trip of the year.