Spanish Biscuits and Still life


Painting by Juan van der Hamen y Leon,who worked in the still life genre,also called Bodegones, popular in Madrid in the 1620’s.

img_5639Moscovitas, speciality of Oviedo

Here is the recipe for the most famous biscuits from one of the oldest pastry shops in Oviedo.Rialto, mentioned in previous post on Spain.

click here to see a spanish video on how they are made.

125gr chopped toasted almonds

100gr castor sugar

100mls of cream

150gr chocolate, they use milk chocolate but I used 70% dark chocolate for coating the biscuits.I also added the zest of 1 orange. See the video for steps. No Spanish needed.


You see so many cakes and biscuits in Spain, they really have a sweet tooth. In the afternoons the cafes and pastry shops are full of people taking coffee, tea and sweet bites. This is called the Merienda, usually from 5:30 to 7:30.From looking at still life paintings dating from the 15th century and on, it seems they always have! I decided to make a few more examples of Spanish biscuits . These two are from Andalucia.

The bottom of the cake rack are Totras al Horno. Also the ones below. They are sold wrapped in tissue paper, so I used tissue paper from Spainish citrus fruits. This recipe differs from others you may find as they have a little honey drizzled over after baking.


250gr of plain flour sifted.

pinch of salt or use salted butter.

125gr of soft butter

125gr caster sugar

1 egg lightly beaten

juice of one lemon, honey and a few pistachios or chopped almonds for the top.

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. In a separate  bowl beat the butter with the sugar, then add the egg and lemon juice. Work in the flour to give a smooth soft dough. Knead for a few minutes to bring it together.Cover and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.Roll out the dough to 1 cm thick and cut out circles of dough to the size you like. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking tray.Push a hole into the top and add a few nuts.Bake at 180°c for about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack and drizzle with honey.



These little cakes on top are called Magdalenas de Castilleja.The small town near Seville is famous for its Magdalenas AND for being the birthplace of Rita Hayward’s Father.

How’s that!!

Magdalenas de Castilleja de la Cuesta.

4 eggs

250gr of sugar

250mls olive oil

250gr sifted plain flour

zest of one lemon

Whisk eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy. Can take a while. This gives the cakes the air they need to rise. Whisk in the oil gradually and slowly to keep the air in the egg mixture. Gently fold in the flour in 3 batches. Then the zest. Fill small paper cases to 2/3 full with the mixture and bake at 190° until well risen and golden brown.


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