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Friday, December 07 2007

Two traditional Spanish Christmas recipes

Starter

ALMOND SOUP

Normally served as a dessert in Castille all through the year. At Christmas, however, it is served as a first course for Christmas dinner with saffron. This spice has found it's perfect growing conditions in Spain,

especially in La Mancha, where each autumn the saffron flowers are picked and in a traditional, process completely carried out by hand, the stigmas are toasted to produce the finest saffron in the world, known as Calidad Mancha.

1.25 litres (2 1/4pt) milk
75 g (3 oz) sugar
150 g (6 oz) powdered almonds or almond paste
2 tbsp fine fresh bread crumbs
2 cloves of garlic
Coarse salt
A few threads of saffron
A few sprigs of parsley
White peppercorns
200 ml (7 floz) olive oil

Garnish

12 small, very thin slices of bread, fried in olive oil
50 g (2 oz) toasted chopped almonds

Bring the milk to a boil.

In a mortar, mix together the coarse salt, saffron, pepper, garlic and parsley.

Mix the powdered almonds, sugar and the mixture from the mortar into the boiling milk.

Lower the heat and let cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve garnished with the slices of fried bread and the toasted chopped almonds.

Dessert

TOURON ICE CREAM

(ice cream made with two nougats) with chocolate sauce

Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain. There are innumerable variations - chocolate, coconut, praline, etc. - but the oldest and most authentic recipes are those for soft (Jijona) touron, made with ground almonds, or hard (Alicante) touron, made with whole almonds, or served as an ice cream, accompanied by chocolate sauce. The sauce is made not with butter but with olive oil, as it used to be made when cocoa was first brought to Spain from the Americas.

150 g (6 oz sugar)
4 tbsp water
6 egg yolks
150 g (6 oz) soft Jijona nougat
2 tbsp Malaga wine
200 ml (7 floz) liquid crème fraîche
3 egg whites
75 g (3 oz) hard Alicante nougat

Sauce

200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp water

Roughly break up the Alicante nougat.

Butter a 500 ml (1 pt) soufflé dish.

Place a paper collar around the edge of the soufflé dish, letting it extend 5 cm (2") above the rim. Place in the freezer.

Prepare a light syrup with the water and sugar.

Beat the egg yolks and the warm syrup together in a blender.

Break up the Jijona nougat into the two tablespoons of wine. Beat the crème fraîche. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Carefully fold together, in the same order, all of the mixtures.

Sprinkle the soufflé mould with some of the Alicante nougat.

Pour in the prepared cream mixture.

Leave in the freezer for several hours, or overnight for best results.

After removing the mixture from the freezer, remove the paper, sprinkle with the remaining Alicante nougat and serve with the warm chocolate sauce.

To make the warm chocolate sauce

Place the chocolate and water in a bowl or double boiler and melt over a pan of simmering water.

Gradually mix in the oil, whisking constantly.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Send a Meals AT 07:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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