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Traveling through Spain easily grows into a cornucopia mixed with a wealth of art, history and culture. One can immediately survey a vast array of regional food specialties and realize that Spain has not just one society but many. Spain's gastronomic treasure comes to its pinnacle during the Christmas season from December 6th to January 6th.
It is a time of get-together´s with family and friends presenting festive and large meals. However, no meal is complete without the typical sweets. Desserts are popular all year round in Spain, but deep-rooted within the country's populace during the holiday season, only fills the air with the fragrance of baking.
Asturias sits in the Northwest and has a characteristic more of Brittany, Normandy or Ireland rather than Spain. This is not an extraordinary opinion of the region since this area was settled by the Celts. However, it may be considered the most Spanish of all the regions. Asturias was extremely isolated and protected from invasions. The Visigoth kings fortified themselves for centuries here. Invasions became virtually impossible and the Principality of Asturias was never conquered by the Moors.
The area is bitter cold in the winter and has no growing season during that time. The culinary frontier of Asturias is filled with plenty of hearty stews, ham, river salmon, and what the catch of the day may bring from the Bay of Biscay. The inhabitants of Asturias are also known for their sweet tooth and dessert specialties are readily available in shops and restaurants throughout the region. A favorite dessert that hails from Asturias is known as Casadielles. It is a pastry made with the flavorings of walnut and anise brandy. This particular recipe is baked, but it can be deep fried instead.
The recipe will yield 15 pieces.
1 tbls of olive oil
1 cup of white wine
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
The dough can be substituted with pre-made puff pastry dough from your market.
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lemon peel
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup of anise brandy (can be substituted with sherry or cognac)
1/2 cup water
1. Mix the white wine, oil and salt until it starts emulsifying.
2. Add the baking powder, the yolk and the butter. Mix well.
3. Place in the flour a little at a time until the dough is firm but not sticky. Knead the dough slightly.
4. Roll out the dough as thin as possible using plenty of flour on wax paper. Place it between two pieces of saran wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
5. During this time prepare the filling by chopping finely or grinding the nuts in a food processor
6. Put the sugar, brandy, water, cinnamon and lemon peel in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes.
7. Remove the lemon and stir in the nuts until you have a thick paste.
8. Cut the dough into squares of about 1/2 inch.
9. Spread a teaspoon of filling on each square and roll them.
10. Fold the top edge to the center and bottom edge to meet and pinch together. Use water to make the ends stick and crimp the ends with a fork to squeeze the ends together so the filling doesn't fall out.
11. Place each packet of the casadiellas with the seam side down onto a lightly buttered oven tin or baking sheet.
12. Brush each with the beaten egg and bake in a pre-heated oven at 250 degrees until golden brown and allow to cool before serving.
13. While cooling and for additional sweetness, sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Other recipes by Veronica:
Swordfish Alicante Style
Torta de Nueces y Zanahorias (Carrot and Nut Cake)
Canelones Rellenos con Gambas
Pinchos de Gambas (Shrimp Skewers)
Sopa de Crema de Ajo (Cream of Garlic Soup)
Vieiras a la Gallega (Galician Scallops)
Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelet)
Albóndigas de Arroz y Espinaca (Rice and Spinach Meatballs)
Crema Catalana (Catalonian Custard)
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