Sometimes, I wake up in the morning with the memory of a flavor, something like a scent, tapping against the walls of my stomach as if wanting me to remember something else altogether by listening closely to the rhythms in that innermost tapping. At times, it is just the scent of coffee wafting from the kitchen after seven a.m. that makes it into my sleepy brain and has it reeling, confused, with a promise of bitterness that sets off this kind of culinary ‘deja vu.’ But at other times, it is something more intimate, a flavor from, say, breakfast at my granny’s when I was ten or a day of birthday-cake baking with some friend, that awakens my senses from a sort of slumber and has me craving for a faint and slight savor in a very material way. The funny thing with these cravings though, is that they are rarely just about the food; they are, more often, a craving for the particular situation, person, or moment strangely connected to that scent or taste.
And thus, precisely because ever since I came to the States I have had more than a chance to crave for things I cannot as easily get, I include here today three of the nicest desserts from back home that often haunt me both while sleep and wide-awake and that will haunt you as surely if you ever have a chance to bite on them. This is just an ice-breaker to have your mouths water right before the celebration of Willamette’s International Food Week. Hope this entry provides you with some new, and sugar-loaded, ‘food for thought.’
A personal favorite, Leche Frita was a classic at my granny’s every weekend and one of the few recipes that I would often help her prepare myself—if only to sprinkle powdered sugar over the pieces at the end! It’s delicious, very chewy, and absolutely soft, which makes it all the more suitable to be had right after lunch or as a complement to turn an ‘ok breakfast’ into an ‘ahhhh-wesome breakfast.’ You can have it with some honey, various types of jam, warm chocolate or, as a ‘purist,’ just plain.
Absolutely yummy, this delectable piece of heaven is sooooo good, one would wish it were Christmas and Easter all year round! For, as it often happens with really good things, it’s only custom to have Trenzado & Roscón for the Spanish Día de Reyes and on other such rare, special occasions such as Easter, some birthdays, etc. Its aroma is that of anise but toned down with some vanilla essence and tons of sugar and though there are variations to the recipe, whether we talk about the Roscón de Reyes or its Easter variety the essence of the recipe is always the same: a smooth roll of creamy cotton-like sponge cake sprinkled with wet sugar and caramelized cherries all over! Now, can you think of something more inviting???
As tradition has it, godfathers and godmothers give this dessert as a token of their love to their godchildren on Reyes or Easter and, when you get it, you’re supposed to eat it with an eye for the little tiny figurines that it’s typical to have inserted into the dough right before baking time. But even if your Trenzado or Rosca is plain—and notice it can have the shape of a braid or else the shape of a huge doughnut—you will surely appreciate, indeed, adore, this fantastic example of Spanish sweet cuisine.
Apparently slightly insubstantial, this cake is also widely famous in my region because of the popularity of the city it has come to stand for over time: Santiago de Compostela. Ever since time immemorial, people have been going on a pilgrimage—sometimes religious, sometimes purely recreational—to the city of Santiago to visit its Romanic Cathedral and thus pay homage to the remains of Santiago Apostol, one of the twelve apostles accompanying Jesus during the last supper and supposedly entombed here. The recipe for this otherwise delicious cake is easy and quick and its taste creamy and absolutely great; simple, yet comforting. If you’re piqued enough to try it yourself, check it out, it is totally worth the effort.