Note: In July I traveled through Spain for a week on a trip sponsored by Freixenet, the sparkling wine producers. In addition to visiting vineyards throughout the country, I did some fooding and drinking on my own. Here are some of my snapshots from Spain! —The Mgmt.
When I told Carrie I was headed to Spain, she had this advice to give: "If you can tear yourself away from all the jamon, look for ensaïmada." But after a few clicks of research, I realized, uh, it's not entirely jamon-free. The pastry is made with flour, water, sugar, eggs, and reduced pork lard (where the oink comes in). "Saim" actually means "pork lard" in Mallorquí.
Not everyone uses the lard, though; you'll find recipes with butter, too. The dough is yeasty and coiled into a frisbee-sized snail shape. Flaky and airy inside but not at all greasy, the texture is somewhere between croissant and brioche.
Ensaïmada is originally from Mallorca and people have been known to leave the island with stacks of boxes of them on their flights, but you can actually find them elsewhere around the country. This one, from a cozy cafe in Barcelona called Petritxol, had a blanket of powdered sugar sitting on top—so much you almost couldn't see the pastry underneath (and almost thought your skirt was supposed to be white after leaving the cafe).
11 Carrer de Petritxol, Barcelona Spain 08002
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