Happy Halloween!! I hope all of you like Halloween, because that’s what it’s all about today. The only difference is it’s Spanish Halloween!
Ok, in Spain we don’t have Halloween. We have “El Dia de los Muertos” or “El Dia de Todos los Santos” (day of death). In Catalonia and the other regions in northeastern Spain, we also have another celebration called “La Castanyada” (Castañada in Spanish). The word Castanyada comes from the word castaña, and means chestnut.
Today in Spain, the “El Dia de los Muertos”, people will go to cemeteries to bring flowers to past members of their families and friends. After that, the families usually get together and have a nice lunch or dinner.
In Catalunya, we also celebrate la Castanyada. It’s a day to celebrate the chestnut. The streets are packed with vendors roasting chestnuts, and serving them in a paper cone. It’s also traditional to eat panellets, often served with sweet wine.
Today’s dish is panellets, I couldn’t cook anything else!
Ingredients (I made about 60 to 70 panellets)
- 2.5 cups sugar (500g)
- 5 cups of almond flour (500g or 1 pound) (I bought 500g of raw almonds and then grinded them using a coffee grinder.)
- 1 Ib sweet potato
- 2 eggs (separated into 2 yolks and the egg whites separated into two portions)
- Toppings: pine nuts, chocolate, coconut… or something else!
- Boil the sweet potato, skin on, and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and remove from the heat and peel it. Then mash it and let it cool.
- Whip the first egg white (I used my KitchenAid). Next, add the 2 yolks, sugar, almond flour and the mashed sweet potato. Mix everything with a spatula. I used my Kitchen Aid spatula attachment on medium speed.
4. When your ready to use the dough, whip the other egg white. This egg white is used to help keep your hands moist, otherwise the dough will get very sticky on your hands and you will not be able to shape the panellets.
5. Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C). Get your toppings ready (coconut, pine nuts, chocolate) on separate plates.
6. Start shaping them. Get you hands wet with the egg white, and star making the panellets. Keep in mind that the panellets should be a 1 or 2 bite size (like a tater tot.) Don’t make them too big.
For the toppings:
- If the toppings are pine nuts: As soon as you shaped the panellet cover it with pine nuts. Place them in a baking sheet with parchment paper. Before putting them in the oven, wash the panellets with some of the egg white. Bake them for 10- 15 minutes.
- For the coconut, shape them, and roll them with coconut. Bake them for 10- 15 minutes.
- Chocolate: Shape the panellets. Bake them for 15 minutes. Once baked, dip the panellet in the chocolate.
Ready to serve! You don’t have to keep them in the fridge. They can be eaten and are good for about 3 weeks!! (But they won’t last that long!)