As mentioned in previous posts, food is the quick-guide tour to the ‘taste’ and culture of a country. Spanish desserts, aside from being utterly delicious, also represent folk stories behind Spanish cities , with each city having its own special heritage and ‘speciality’ flavourings. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, then this one’s for you! Read on to discover some of the most famous Spanish desserts (with healthier versions) with me (a native Spaniard) as your guide in Spanish Desserts: 5 Delicious, Easy-to-Make Recipes You’ll Love!
1. Crema Catalana
The Spanish version of the French “crème brûlée”, they say that the latter is ‘better’, but from my point of view, that’s got nothing to do with it and this version is actually easier to prepare! It’s a kind of yellow custard served on a clay plate, that’s very popular in Catalonia. It consists of a creamy egg-cream with a layer of sugar that burns until it is crisp. The creaminess of the custard is achieved with milk and corn starch.
If you’re looking a version of this dessert with fewer calories, you can substitute sugar for sweetener (or red grape juice) and a little cinnamon. You can also use skimmed milk.
These fritters are soft, fluffy balls that are filled with pastry, cream, custard or jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar, chocolate or caramel. They are very easy to prepare, made with flour, egg, sugar and milk and then fried. They are typical at Christmas, but of course can be eaten anytime of the year.
If you want to make a lighter version of this recipe you can prepare them in the oven, use sweetener (or dates) instead of sugar and add yeast to make them ‘puff’ better. You can also sprinkle them with cinnamon, in addition, you can make them without the cream filling and they are just as delicious!
3. Tarta de Santiago
This Spanish almond cake dessert is typical of Galicia, originating from the time of medieval pilgrimage. It is made with almond flour, sugar, eggs and sprinkled with powdered sugar on top forming a cross. The cross represents the patron saint of the city Santiago de Compostela. It is usually taken with coffee. You can also make it less calorific with ground almonds, and sprinkle it with cinnamon and red grape juice if desired.
These are the Spanish version of French toast. It is an appetizing, tasty, and very simple dessert to make. These are slices of bread that are dipped in flavoured milk and egg and then fried in olive oil. Once cooked, they are covered with cinnamon sugar, honey or syrup.
If you want a healthier, lighter version, you can make them in the oven, use skimmed milk and cover them with a little honey (or red grape juice) and cinnamon. They’re traditionally consumed at Easter, but anytime is equally great!
5. Arroz Con Leche
This Spanish rice pudding is a very creamy dessert made with a perfect combination of rice, milk, cinnamon, lemon peel and sugar.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can instead make it with brown rice, skimmed or plant-based milk, and use grape juice in place of sugar. It’s widely consumed in all parts of Spain, is very easy to make and is delicious served hot or cold, depending on where in Spain you happen to be!
We hope you liked this quick-taste tour of Spanish culture through some of its tantalizing desserts. We recommend that you try some of these but why not get creative, and make healthier contemporary equivalents? Show (and tell) us all about them in the comments below and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!
Love Spain? Then check out our Spanish journalist, Maria Sanchez’s articles on Traditional Spanish Dishes: Top 5 Vegetarian Versions You’ll Love, and Wrap ‘N’ Roll: 5 Quick, Easy Vegan Tortilla Recipes You’ll Love!