From rich, creamy custard to crunchy dough fritters, Spain desserts are wonderful for anyone with a sweet tooth. Here are 10 of our favourite traditional Spanish desserts, known for their spectacular indulgence.
Spain Desserts: A Way Of Life
The Spanish are world-renowned for their love of laid-back, joyful siestas. Naturally, this attitude calls for dessert after dinner. Inspired by Spain’s unique mix of Roman, Moorish and New World influences, Spanish desserts play a significant role in Spanish cuisine.
5 Traditional Spanish Desserts
#1 Manzanas Asadas
The Manzanas Asadas is the holy grail Spanish fruit desserts. Crafted of baked apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds and lemon juice, this dessert offers a wonderfully smooth texture and delicious flavour. For a more elegant dessert, the apples can be filled with raisins soaked in brandy or red wine.
#2 Flan de Queso
A dessert with a unique texture, a spoonful of flan is like a taste of vanilla mousse cheesecake, only richer and creamier. The classic flan is a vanilla egg custard, topped with caramel syrup. Like many Spain desserts, flan originated with the Roman Empire. Today, it is one of the most popular desserts in Spain.
#3 Crema Catalana
Boasting a thick, creamy custard and a crunchy, burnt sugar crust, the Crema Catalana is a Catalan version of the French favourite, crème brûlée. This simple yet luxurious dessert is made by mixing milk, egg yolks and sugar together and infusing it with orange rind, lemon zest and cinnamon.
The oldest dessert in Europe, this delicious dessert was first crafted by the Jewish inhabitants of Catalonia appears in several medieval Catalan recipes books in the 14th century. Traditionally prepared on Saint Joseph’s Feast Day in terracotta dishes, it is also known as crema de Sant Josep.
#4 Turrón de Jijona
Turrón de Jijona is a traditional Spanish almond nougat dessert of Moorish (Arabic) origin. One of the most quintessential Spanish sweet treats in the 15th century, turrón was originally made in the Alicante town of Jijona. Renowned for its characteristic golden colour and soft texture, turrón is a traditional Christmas treat that comes in hard and brittle, or soft and chewy styles.
To make turrón, the artisan-maker first heats the honey until it begins to caramelise, beats in sugar, egg whites and toasted almonds, and lets it rest and set.
#5 Tarta de Santiago
A wonderfully moist, indulgent dessert that blends almond and citrus flavours, the tarta de Santiago is a thick and rich cake, ideal for enjoying with a cup of milky ‘café con leche’.
A traditional dessert from the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, this dessert is traditionally made from ground almonds bound with eggs, sugar, lemon and a Spanish liqueur or sweet dessert wine. Decorated with the symbol of the Cross of Saint James (Cruz de Santiago) in powdered sugar, the tart was originally enjoyed by medieval travellers on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Originated in the Andalusian convents during the 15th century, torrijas are a popular breakfast made of slices of bread soaked in milk and fried in olive oil. Dating back to Roman times, this dish was traditionally served to expectant mothers before giving birth and after childbirth to restore their energy. Later in the Middle Ages, torrijas became a popular Lent dish eaten with wine during the Holy Week or Semana Santa, just before Easter.
#7 Arroz con Leche
This Spanish style, cinnamon-infused rice pudding will haunt your dreams. Arroz con leche, rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon and lemon peel, is one of the oldest desserts in Spain, brought to Spain during the Moorish occupation. This dessert is made by slowly boiling short, wide grain rice in milk while gradually adding egg yolks, sugar, salt, lemon zest, cinnamon, and raisins. The dish is amazing served hot or cold.
Mantecados are rich, soft, crumbly cookies that are a favourite at Christmas. These cookies, created by kneading lard, melt in your mouth with a delicate anise flavour. The origin of the mantecados dates back to the 16th century. The biscuit was first invented to make use of the surplus of cereals and lard in the Andalusian town of Antequera. Modern mantecados may be handcrafted with sesame and cinnamon essence, almond butter, double cinnamon butter, chocolate butter, lemon butter or hojaldrina butter.
Churros are a beloved pastry in Spain — fried dough fritters with a crispy exterior and soft, airy interior, garnished with a light dusting of sugar and a rich, thick hot chocolate dipping sauce. Recognisable for their long, straight shape with ridges, churros are the ultimate late-night, winter or breakfast snack.
#10 Mel i Mato
A dessert unique to Catalonia, mel i mató is a delicious marriage of cheese and honey. The dessert stars fresh mató — a fluffy, subtly sweet Catalan cream cheese made from cow or goat’s milk — generously drizzled with local honey and sprinkled with walnuts, jams or fresh fruit.
Eager to try some mouth-watering Spanish food or desserts right here in Brisbane? Book a table at Moda Restaurant today.