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Celebrate All Saint’s Day with Spanish delectables

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Panellets

1 3/4 cup finely ground almonds (use a food processor)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup boiled yellow or white potatoes or sweet potatoes, smashed

Zest of one lemon

2 eggs separated, plus 1 extra yolk

Coatings

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 340 degrees.

Place pine nuts, coconut and chopped almonds all in separate small bowls and set aside.

Using a potato masher or an electric mixer, combine the potatoes and sugar. Add the ground almonds and lemon zest and mix well. Add two egg yolks and mix into a dough.

Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into balls using your hands. Dip into egg whites, then roll into one of the toppings.

Place on foil-lined baking tray, brush with remaining egg yolk, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on tray, then let cool completely on wire rack before eating.

Updated: December 1, 2013 7:30AM



In the Catalonia region of Spain where traditional holidays are celebrated with fireworks and the spilling of carafes of wine into your comrades’ mouths, the celebration of All Saint’s Day on Nov. 1 — or Dia de Todos los Santos — doesn’t stray far from their norm.

The Catalans take great pleasure in carousing with family and friends, much more so than do their North American neighbors. Their autumn fetes for the feast of saints clings tightly to the old world traditions of Hallowmas, and vary greatly from our long-standing Halloween celebrations and even those of Day of the Dead fame from their Mexican kin.

During the Castanyda festival on All Saint’s Day, Catalans in Barcelona and surrounding areas may pray for family members that are deceased, visit the cemetery, and celebrate with food and wine.

While groups of friends and family members sit around a fire, two celebratory delectables are always enjoyed: roasted chestnuts and panellets, a Catalan cookie made with marzipan and potatoes. Rolled into balls and doused with pine nuts, panellets sometimes get specialty make-overs with coatings of coffee, cocoa, coconut or almonds.

Although potatoes and cookies don’t sound like a happy coupling, the blending of the almond and potato flavoring is quite delicious — sweet with just enough of a savory side to pair up with a few glasses of a Spanish sweet wine, like a moscatel or cava.

This recipe calls for a homemade batch of marzipan, but a prepared concoction could be substituted. An easy treat to whip up, it’s all an easy one to mess up. Have patience with the potatoes especially. Too much excess water attached to the starch will cause these pretty Spanish beauties to flop in the oven.



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