Easter treats from Spain and Germany

Easter treats from Spain and Germany

Put a spring in your step with these sweet and savoury treats from the latest stop on our world menu tour.

For Easter, our world menu is taking inspiration from Germany and Spain. Our savoury dish is the traditional German pretzel. Pretzels have been made for more than a thousand years, probably origi-nating in monasteries. Folklore has it that the knotted dough was designed to resemble arms folded in prayer. Versions without eggs and butter were historically eaten during Lent, building up a con-nection between pretzels and the approach of Easter. Since we’re not fasting, our more indulgent version features both.

No one celebrates Easter quite like the Spanish, so it’s from there that we take inspiration for des-sert. Sweet pastry tarts with a custard filling called Bartolillos are made by convents and eaten to celebrate Holy Week. But if you don’t have any nuns nearby to help out, it’s easy to make your own.

Pretzels recipe
500g of flour; 200ml of tepid water; 2 teaspoons sugar; 1 teaspoon table salt; 25 g baker's yeast, 50g of melted butter; 3 tablespoons baking soda; 3 litres water; coarse salt

Make a well with the flour, sugar and table salt. Dissolve the yeast in tepid water and add it to the middle of the well. Mix the ingredients, then add the melted butter. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and leave it to rise somewhere warm for two hours.

Divide the risen dough into eight pieces. Take each piece and stretch it into a cord that is about 50cm long and thinner towards the end. Loop the ends together in the classic pretzel knot and place on a baking sheet, covered, to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C and add the baking soda to the 3 litres of water, then bring it to the boil. Dip the pretzels in the water two at a time and let them cook for 40 seconds. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to dry. Transfer them to a baking sheet and scatter with coarse salt. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm.

Bartolillos recipe
For the filling:
1 egg; 3 tablespoons of sugar; 2 tablespoons of cornflour; 250ml of milk

For the pastry:
500g of flour; 100g of soft butter; 250ml of milk; 4 tablespoons of sugar; 4 table-spoons of baking power; 3 tablespoons of olive oil; 700ml of vegetable oil for frying; icing sugar for dusting

First make the filling by beating the egg with the sugar and cornflour. Heat the milk until it’s almost – but not quite – boiling. Add the egg mixture, stirring constantly. As soon as it thickens, take it off the heat – make sure it doesn’t boil.

To make the pastry, mix the flour, butter, milk, baking powder and sugar in a bowl until you have a soft dough. Roll out half the dough on a floured board. Fold in half, roll again, and repeat. Cut the pastry into 3-inch squares, spoon a small amount of filling onto each, then fold in half to form a tri-angle. Seal the edges by pressing down with a fork. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Heat oil in a large frying pan to 200°C. Fry the bartolillos in batches until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels, then dust lightly with the icing sugar. Serve with coffee or a sweet sher-ry.

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