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Baking Spain's typical Easter cakes: Recipes for regional favourites
Tuesday, April 19, 2022 @ 10:18 AM

EASTER'S now over for another year, but the sweet treats filling supermarket shelves and bakery display units will still be around for a few days yet, and probably at reduced prices for clearance.

Easter sweet treats are likely to still be on sale until stocks run out - although the first ones to get snapped up, usually in bulk, are the chocolate-coated monas in the middle of this picture by Mercadona supermarkets

Depending upon where you live, this might include the usual chocolate eggs and bunnies – much less prolific in Spain than in the Anglo-Saxon nations, but there are always a small handful on sale – or monas, which are doughy loops coated in hundreds-and-thousands, or sugar sprinkles, with a painted hard-boiled egg in the middle.

More popular still are the ones with a foil-covered hollow chocolate egg in the centre and, if you have a degree in engineering, you might even be able to assemble the plastic toy inside (no doubt, if you're a parent or grandparent, you'll have had to acquire this skill by default, and discovered failure is not an option), and the ones which disappear the fastest not only have the chocolate egg, but the whole cake is coated in chocolate. 

There's no truth in the claim that they're quite filling and one is enough to satisfy you. 

Monas are more typically associated with the Comunidad Valenciana and Catalunya, on the east coast, but can be found elsewhere.

Torrijas, or sweet, eggy, sugary French toast, are an Easter staple in Madrid, and other regions have their own, individual confectionery for the spring holidays.

When shops run out of their overstocks, many of these are fairly easy to whip up yourself – so if you were in the wrong region to indulge in your favourites this year, it's time to get baking.

Unusually, for Easter 2022, typical seasonal sweet stuff in the shops along with monas and chocolate eggs have included fresh and candied dates, kalb el-louz 'almond hearts', and other semolina-and-honey cakes and pastries – for the first time in many years, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan has fallen right across Easter.

Ramadan is the ninth lunar month, rather than a calendar month, so it goes back around 10 days a year – having been in high summer over most of the 2010s, the daytime fasting and prayer followed by post-sunset family meals is not due to take place over the shortest days of winter until the beginning of the next decade.

But while Easter confectionery will only be in the shops for a few more days, until existing stocks reach their use-by dates, Ramadan goodies will be in abundant supply in Muslim-run grocery stores until around May 2 or 3, when the final day's celebration, Eid ul-Fitr, is expected to take place.


Madrid's torrijas: Capital Easter confectionery 

Until relatively recently, torrijas were not an Easter thing. They are thought to have been found in Latin recipe collections drawn up in the fourth or fifth centuries and spread to Spain, France and the UK during the Middle Ages, not becoming a dessert-type dish until at least the 16th century.

They originally became popular as a recovery snack for women just after giving birth – along with a glass of wine – due to their high energy content, and it is also for this reason that they became an Easter staple.


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