Christmas recipes from Spain

CHRISTMAS festivities would seem incomplete without the traditional offerings of sweet breads cakes and nougats (turrones). Often they are the traditional finish to the Christmas feast as well as always being at hand for when guests come calling.

In Spain, Christmas is well-flavoured with aniseed, cinnamon, sesame, almonds and sweet Malaga wine. Many of the cakes and breads have an almost oriental touch (which is probably not surprisingly after centuries of Moorish rule).

Christmas would not be Christmas without the "turrones" which are served at the end of a meal with the cafe and liqueurs, or with"cava" the Spanish sparkling wine (similar to champagne) when guests arrive.
There are two traditional recipes for nougat, named after the places they are made :
a hard nougat - Alicante
and a softer one- Jijona

Nowadays there are many different sorts of nougats made, with the traditional almonds being replaced by peanuts, coconut, egg yolk, or chocolate.
Here are some traditional recipes you might like to try

Egg yolk nougat

Hard nougat

Soft nougat Epiphany crown Almond rolls
Christmas turkey Caramel custard




There are many different versions of this recipe, but this is one that is easy to prepare and tastes good.

Preparation time: 12 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients for 4 people:

500 gms. Chick peas (soaked ready to use)

100 gms.Catalan sausage (a pork sausage - very meaty)

2 hard boiled eggs

3 onions

50 gms lard (pork fat)

4 tomatoes

seasoning: pepper & salt


  1. Boil the chick peas (already soaked) in water and salt for at least an hour.
  2. Fry the peeled, finely chopped, onions and skinned tomatoes in the lard.
  3. Add the sliced sausage.
  4. When the chick peas are cooked we drain the from their stock (keeping the stock) and put them into a casserole.
  5. Add the fried onion mixture and cover with stock.
  6. Chop the hard boiled eggs and add to the mixture.
  7. Bring to the boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Eat and enjoy!



Pavo Trufado de Navidad

(Christmas Turkey with Truffles)

               1 turkey of 4 kg.
               ½ kg. minced lean pork
               1 kg. minced veal
               Salt and ground black pepper
               1 glass of brandy
               1 large glass of dry sherry
               3 tins (x 90g) truffles (mushrooms)
               150 g "jamon serrano"
               200 g belly of pork in rashers
               6 eggs

          For garnish...
          Apple puree, Plums, Pineapple, oranges and maraschino cherries

          For the stock..

               Carcass and giblets of the turkey
               ½ kg carrots
               ½ kg leeks
               ½ kg onions
               1 stick of celery
               1 bottle of dry sherry
               2 ham bones
               36 g gelatin

          Place the turkey upside down, cut the skin along the backbone, and using
          the fingers, ease away the skin in one piece, first on one side of the
          backbone and then on the other. It is elastic and should come away easily.

          Keep the breasts apart, making fillets of the thickest parts and cutting into
          strips. Remove the meat from the legs and wings, etc., and mince it with the
          pork and veal, putting it all into a bowl. Season with salt and ground black
          pepper, sprinkle with the brandy and sherry, add the chopped truffles and
          their juice, and the ham and belly of pork in strips. Leave to marinate for 4
          hours, together with the beaten eggs.

          Remove the sliced truffles and the strips of ham and belly of pork, and
          reserve. Then knead together the filling thoroughly by hand.

          Now spread out the skin of the turkey on the working surface and lay the
          fillets on top like the pages of a book. Cover the breasts with a layer of the
          minced meat and then with one of ham and belly of pork strips, breasts and
          slices of truffle, repeating the operation until the ingredients are used up.
          Using a stout needle, sew together the edges of the skin and also the holes
          made by the wings and legs.

          Place the sew-up skin with its filling on a white napkin, roll it around and sew
          with large stitches, then tie it into a roll with uncolored string.

          Put the roll into a large saucepan, together with the cut up carcass and cut
          up vegetables and pour over this the bottle of dry sherry. Add the ham bones,
          the gelatin and a few egg shells. Cover with 3 liters of cold water and boil
          briskly for 3 hours (1 ½ hours each side), seasoning with salt and ground
          pepper. Make sure that it is evenly cooked, then remove the roll and leave it
          on a dish to drain and cool.

          Remove the cloth in which it is wrapped, wring out the juice into the cooking
          liquid, rinse out the cloth and again wrap up the roll without sewing. Put it on
          a dish, place a chopping board on top, and on top of this a weight of 3 or 4
          kg. Press for 12 hours and then put into the refrigerator.

          Boil the cooking liquid without a lid, reducing it to 1 liter if converting it into a
          jelly. If strained, this makes a magnificent soup or consomme. If required
          thicker, add three or four leave of gelatin. Cut the roll into slices 1 cm. thick.
          Serve with puree of apples and plums and decorate with slices of fresh
          pineapples and orange and with maraschino cherries.


               8 egg yolks
               A few drops of vanilla essence
               1 pint milk
               2 tbls. syrup
               4 oz. sugar

          Heat 3 tbls. sugar with ½ tbls. water until it is of a brown caramel
          consistency. Pour into an oven-proof dish or little individual dishes, which
          have previously been dipped into cold water and not dried (this prevents
          sticking). Make a custard by beating the yolks well, adding the milk and
          flavoring and pour into the caramel-lined dish or dishes and bake for about 20
          minutes. Cool, turn out and keep in cool place until served.

"Turron de yema" Egg yolk nougat.


  "Turron de Alicante" (hard nougat)


After two and a half hours, the turron is cut. When it is completely cold, the slices are stored in an airtight container


"Turron de Jijona" (soft nougat)

Ingredients :

The "roscón de reyes", Epiphany crown, a sweet bread baked in the form of a crown is eaten on January 6th, and always contains a trinket or coin, assuring the one who finds it of a year's good fortune.
( A similar cake is served in Mexico, where the one who claims the trinket must give a party on Candlemas Day, Feb. 2nd, and in France, where the one who finds the bean or charm is king or queen of the day's festivities).

Epiphany crown "Roscón de Reyes"

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
2. Add 50 grams of the flour and mix to make a soft dough.
3. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
4. Put the remaining flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.
5. Beat the eggs together with the egg yolk and pour into the flour with the salt, rum, orange flower water and the rest of the sugar.
6. Add the grated orange and lemon rind. Work the flour into the liquid with the hands.
7. Add the yeast dough and mix very well until the dough is no longer sticky, adding flour as necessary.
8. Divide the butter into 4 parts and sprinkle it with flour.
9. Divide the dough into 4 parts. On a lightly floured board work a piece of butter into each of the pieces of dough, then knead them together again.
10. Knead the dough until very smooth and elastic. Lightly butter a bowl. Put the ball of dough into it, turn it to coat lightly with butter, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let set in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or more.
11. Punch the dough down, turn out onto the board and knead again.
12. Insert a trinket or coin or bean (no plastic objects that will melt) into the dough. Form the dough into one or two balls and flatten them slightly.
13. Shape into rings by inserting a finger into the centre and very gently easing the dough outward to create a hole in the centre. Either stuff the hole with crumpled foil and place or a buttered oven tin or set the rings in lightly buttered ring moulds.
14. Cover and set in a warm place to rise again The dough will not double in bulk but will rise substantially during baking.
15. Lightly beat the remaining egg white or a whole egg and brush the cake with it. Sprinkle on the slivered almonds and stud with pieces of candied fruit. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and bake in a medium-hot oven until nicely browned, about 35 minutes.

Tortells Almond Rolls

Dissolve the yeast in the 4 tablespoons of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar.
Mix in 100 grams of the flour.
Put in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place.
In a large bowl mix the remaining 400 grams of flour, salt, 2 lightly beaten eggs, hot water and 80 grams of the sugar.
Add the yeast mixture to it, turn out onto a floured board and knead until very smooth, adding the oil a little at a time.
Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl, cover with a cloth, and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
Cook the potato, peel it, and put it through a mincer and whip it with the remaining sugar.
Add the ground almonds and the grated lemon peel.
Divide the filling into six portions and set aside.
Divide the dough into pieces of about 150 grams.
Roll each out on a lightly floured board into a rectangle and smear it with softened butter.
Place a strip of filling across one end and roll the dough up.
Bring the ends together, forming a circle, and pinch them together.
Place on buttered baking sheet. Proceed to fill and roll the remaining dough.
Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until nearly doubled in bulk (about one hour).
Then brush with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and bake in a medium-hot oven until golden, about 20 minutes.

We hope you enjoyed trying out these recipes,
if you would like more recipies let us know by contacting:

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Email : Pat Spiller-Spanish Festivals or St. Paul's School, Barcelona