Madrid’s culinary culture is rich in pastry varieties, some associated with certain dates and celebrations, and others marketed throughout the year. With native recipes, often of Arab influence, Madrid’s confectionery also includes specialties from other Spanish regions that evidence Madrid’s role as a traditional host city for citizens from different parts of the country. Among the most characteristic sweets are torrijas, churros, huesos de santo and barquillos.
Pastries in Madrid
The confectionery of Madrid divides its typical sweets throughout the year according to certain festivities.
January: Festivities of San Antón
Panecillos de San Antón: around January 17, many citizens come to the church on Hortaleza Street to bless their pets and celebrate the Day of San Antonio Abad, protector of animals. The buns, based on a simple recipe and also blessed, accompany this traditional moment.
February / March: Carnival
The chocolate sardine: recently created, this sardine-shaped dessert, completely edible and with chocolate as its main ingredient, is the official dessert of Carnival.
March / April: Easter
Torrijas: this is the quintessential Easter sweet and it is customary to eat it in any part of our country, although these slices of bread soaked in egg, milk or wine acquire their special touch in our region thanks to the honey with which they are covered.
May: Festivities of San Isidro
Rosquillas de San Isidro: around the 15th of May, San Isidro, Madrid celebrates the municipal festivities of its patron saint in the chapel dedicated to the saint, where this traditional product is tasted accompanied by water from its fountain, and there are several types:
- the tontas, made only with a dough of eggs, oil, sugar, flour and aniseed.
- the ready ones, which do not have aniseed in their dough, and after baking are bathed in a sugar and lemon syrup and then in a lemon glaze.
- the French ones, which are coated with almond paste, using the same dough as the tontas, but to which a layer of egg yolk is added so that the almond paste sticks to the dough.
- those of Santa Clara, bathed in meringue made with whipped egg whites and sugar.
And a novelty; those of the Holy Year of San Isidro: they add a delicious chocolate coating to their formula.
October and November: All Saints’ Day and La Almudena.
Huesos de santo: these sweet canutillos, made with almonds, commemorate All Saints’ Day every November 1 and, although they were originally filled with sweet egg yolk, nowadays there is a wide variety of flavors such as chocolate, coconut, yogurt, etc. The bones of saint and stuffed fritters are also transformed into a myriad of flavors and colors for all tastes to celebrate Halloween night.
Buñuelos de viento: like the previous ones, it is typical to have these small buns, usually filled with cream or custard, during the festivity of November 1st.
Coronas de la Almudena: created by Madrid confectioners in the 1980s, with the intention of honoring the patron saint of Madrid and her guild, the Virgin of the Almudena, they are usually seen in the windows of bakeries every year around November 9, the day on which the feast of the Virgin is celebrated. Based on a simple recipe, this pastry is similar to the roscón de reyes in shape and ingredients, although the crowns are smaller, do not have orange blossom water and replace their candied fruit decorations with cherries, cream details, almonds,…etc…, although, like these, they can also be filled with custard, cream or truffle.
December and January: Christmas:
Nougat: another traditional sweet that cannot be missing from the table during the Christmas holidays. Of various types, you can find toasted yolk, fruit, white and hard, or chocolate. Long lines form in front of the door of Casa Mira. This store opened its doors in 1942 and boasts of being the most famous turron house in Madrid. Also very typical are marzipans, polvorones and, increasingly, Christmas logs and pannetone.
Roscón de reyes: every Christmas this delicious bun, made with orange blossom water and decorated with candied fruit, returns to the confectioneries of our city to celebrate Three Kings Day. With or without filling – cream, truffle, cream or chocolate – it usually contains a small gift and a bean that will determine, according to tradition, the good or bad luck of those who find it.
On the other hand, in Madrid we will find a series of sweets that are not related to specific festivities and can be enjoyed throughout most of the year:
- Churros: these striated cylindrical strips, fried in oil, sprinkled with sugar and distinguished in Madrid by their bow shape, are ideal for breakfasts or snacks. In addition, during New Year’s morning it is usual to have them, together with a cup of chocolate, as the culmination of the party.
- Barquillos: although the profession of barquillero is almost extinct, originally it was common to see him in the streets of the city next to a drum by means of which, and through a simple roulette game, the citizens bet to get one of his popular cylindrical or flattened wafers.
- Chocolate a la taza: with the arrival of cold weather, this hot and dense drink becomes the perfect complement to the churros in the breakfasts and snacks served in the locals of our city. La Chocolatería de San Ginés is one of the historical places to savor one of the best hot chocolates.
- Bartolillos: just like churros and pestiños, these large, almost triangular-shaped sweets filled with fine cream are carefully prepared by frying in oil.
- Pestiños: called frying pan fruit because of their elaboration process, these sweets of Arab origin are characterized because once they are out of the oil, they are bathed with abundant honey or sugar.
- Las Chatitas: this typical sweet was born in the 90’s by Pedro Martínez López, owner of the Animari bakery company located in the Salamanca neighborhood. Its elaboration consists of a small, very light sponge cake that can be filled with raspberry, strawberry or dulce de leche and covered with dark, milk or white chocolate.
- Palmeritas and Manolitos: another common sweet in Madrid’s pastry shops are the puff pastry palmeritas. They can be covered with chocolate, coconut and all kinds of creations. The most famous palmeritas are in the town of Morata de Tajuña, but they can be found in Madrid in the store La palmerita de Morata. It is also worth mentioning the Manolitos, undoubtedly the most famous croissants in Madrid. Manolo Bakes offers a wide selection of them, both sweet and savory. If you are a real chocoholic do not miss the best chocolates in Madrid in our blog.
- Rosquillas de Alcalá: delicious sweet in the shape of a doughnut, prepared with several layers of puff pastry, with an egg yolk glaze on top.
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