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History of Pastries



Ensaïmada is a traditional sweet pastry from the Balearic Islands highly appreciated throughout Spain for its uniqueness. It is a flat, snail-shaped pastry that is emblematic of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, and consists of an enriched fermented dough produced through a slow, complex process.


The first documented references to the ensaïmada date back to the 17th century, when it was described as a sweet pastry made for special occasions.

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However, its origin seems to be much older and is clearly linked to the history and heritage of Balearic pastry. As the Spanish saying goes: "before there was flour, the Mallorcan ensaïmada already existed".

High quality ensaïmadas are made by master craftspeople in the Balearic Islands, who still produce this delicacy through a completely artisanal process that, depending on temperature and humidity conditions, can take as long as two days. 

In the 1970s, the Spanish writer Josep Pla, defined the ensaïmada as "the lightest, airiest and most delicate of the confectionery of this country", and Spain's greatest contemporary chef, Ferran Adrià, has said that "there is no product equal to the ensaïmada in the world". 

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Piononos are small pastries originally from the South of Spain. The origin of the Pionono could go as far back as the time of Hispanic-Muslim Spain between the 8th and the 15th centuries. During this period, Granada was one of the areas most influenced by Arabic culture. The Arabs brought new recipes and techniques to Spanish pastry-making as well as ingredients never before used in Spain. The first Pionono recipe may have been developed during that period in Spain's history.

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The inhabitants of Granada kept this recipe as part of its Arab heritage. Over time, the shape of the Pionono changed a few times as well as the composition of its ingredients, in order to adapt to different tastes over the years.

It was in 1897 when Ceferino Isla, in order to honor Pope Pius IX ("Pio Nono" in Italian), conceived the creation of this cake not only by adopting the name of Pope Pius IX but also to recreate the papal figure. Piononos have two main elements: a wet sponge cake rolled into a small cylinder and a crown at the top made of toasted cream.

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Glaseados are delicious cakes made of layers of puff pastry, a special cream and Italian meringue. A divine sweet which is very popular in the city of Almería, in the Southeast of Spain. Its subtle complexity and its balanced combination of flavors makes this a very special dessert.

Spain has a long tradition of producing meringue. The first written references to meringue appear in the Spanish cookbook “Arte de Reposteria” (Art of Pastry), written in 1747 by Juan de la Mata, where there is a chapter dedicated to meringues.

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Doblegats are the result of virtuosity in the puff pastry making process. A type of puff pastry filled with cream originating from the Balearic Islands that is characterized by its striking layered lamination. Its name comes from the Mallorcan form of the Catalan word 'doblegat', which literally means "folded", since this crunchy puff pastry filled with a creamy paste is folded in half before baking.

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Spain was a pioneer in developing some of the fundamentals of global gastronomy and a clear example is the origin of puff pastry, which was first found in anonymous 13th-century medieval Spanish Arabic cookbooks, which explained how to  ̈roll the dough out thin, smear it with butter, roll it up and then flatten it with your hands. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten it again, to create more layers ̈. The first known recipe of modern puff pastry using butter or lard appears in the Spanish recipe book ‘Libro del arte de cocina’ (Book on the art of cooking) which was published in 1607.

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Miguelitos are a type of cream filled puff pastry originated in La Roda, in the legendary region of Castilla–La Mancha.

A pastry chef gave his friend Miguel the first bite of his new creation, and Miguel was so delighted with it that the chef decided to call the pastry “Miguelito” (Little Miguel). La Roda, in the province of Albacete, started to be known throughout Spain for its Miguelitos and their popularity grew like wildfire.

Miguelitos consist of soft puff pastry with a vanilla cream patisserie filling and a flaky crust covered with sugar powder. For chocolate lovers, they are also filled with a velvety and absolutely irresistible chocolate mousse.

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Tocino de Cielo

This mouth-watering dessert was invented in the early 14th century. The city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, has specialized in the production of “sherry” (or Jerez) for thousands of years. Jerez has been a centre of viticulture since the Phoenicians introduced winemaking to Spain in 1100 BCE.

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Historically, winemakers clarified wine using egg whites, resulting in many unused yolks. They began to donate the egg yolks to local nuns, who, in turn, created this rich caramel dessert. Tocino de Cielo roughly translates to “Heavenly Custard”, in reference to its religious origins. The classic recipe for Tocino de Cielo contains nothing but egg yolks, water and sugar.

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Xuixo is a typical sweet viennoiserie pastry from the city of Girona that is deep-fried, sugar-coated and filled with crema catalana - a divine custard cream that is one of the gastronomic emblems of Catalonia. 

The Xuixo was created in the 1920s in Girona by pastry chef Emili Puig, who had a French pastry worker who showed Puig how to make a cake called 'Choux à la Crème', which inspired Puig to create a new cake: the Xuixo, which quickly caught on in Girona with its fame rapidly reaching other Catalan provinces. 

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A legend in Girona credits the invention of the Xuixo to el Tarlà, a sympathetic character who is very present in the local festivities. Tarlà was an acrobat who entertained the people of Girona in a time of quarantine during an epidemic. He fell in love with the daughter of a pastry chef. During a visit to his girlfriend, Tarlà hid in a sack of flour, sneezed and was discovered. Before the pastry chef could get angry, Tarlà promised to marry his daughter and gave him a special pastry recipe: the Xuixo, named after the sneeze that betrayed him. Nowadays, Tarlà's likeness is erected at the place where he had entertained the people of Girona.

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Flor Manchega

A classic sweet from Castilla-La Mancha, the iconic land of windmills in the heart of Spain.

In his masterpiece "Don Quixote", Cervantes notes the "hojuelas" (leaves) and the ̈"frutas de sartén" (pan fruits), known as "flores manchegas", whose characteristic baroque shape resembles the Order of the Cross of Calatrava.

The flowers are made with an iron mold that once passed down from generation to generation as if it were a treasure. This is how this typical sweet has come to us today, so eye-catching, so striking, the result of which is a sweet dough with a flavourful and crunchy texture.

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Roscon de Reyes

The Roscón de Reyes (Roscon of Kings) is a sweet fermented bread-based ring-shaped dessert eaten in Spain on the Epiphany, January 6. Roscón is a very special version of the ring cakes, with fancier decorations and larger size since it is usually shared in big family gatherings to celebrate the last festivity of the Christmas season, the traditional day of The Three Wise Men. 


Its origin is very old and it goes back to the ancient Roman Saturnalia festival, in the second century BC. Centuries later, the Roscon evolved from its pagan origin, associating it with the day of the Epiphany, when the arrival of the Three Wise Men of the East is celebrated.

In Spain, pastry chefs hide two small figures inside the Roscon: one shaped like a king and the other shaped like a bean. Tradition dictates that whoever finds the bean must pay for the Roscon, and whoever finds the king will have a year of fortune and good luck. This translates in lots of fun and laughter for the family. 

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