Friday, November 1, 2013


All Saints Day

(to the dutch version) Today is All Saints Day here in Catalunya. I've been residing in Barcelona for about a week now, accompanying my partner who's working abroad for a while. The recipe I'm sharing is a typical Catalan treat that is associated with All Saints. All around town they have been staring me in the face all week; round little balls covered in pine nuts, shiny with a royal egg wash. 

Yesterday I stumbled upon a most amazing little store here, next to a bakery by the same name; Forn Baltá (calle de Carrer 115-119, for those visiting  Barcelona in the future). They have an amazing array of flours on sale; Spanish, French and German wheat, rye, wholewheat, bio... you name it, they sell it. Needless to say I stocked up on some flour that I just had to get. I'm especially curious about the Navarra-flour that I got. They also had a kit that came with everything you need to make your very own panellets. Go figure! 

Dutch Oven within a Dutch oven
My plan was to bake some serious bread while I was here, but the oven in the apartment we were dealt with, turned out to be a microwave with the tiniest grill function... No bread to be made in that thing! 

Being a creative mind I set out to put together a little make shift oven that WOULD do the job. With the few things found in the poorly equipped kitchenette I constructed something that actually worked. I call it my Dutch oven within a Dutch oven-system!

Setting my standards as low as possible I even managed to get some nice buns on the breakfast table; simple white rolls sprinkled with lemon salt flakes. They were a bit on the crusty side but hit the spot anyhow!

I doubt that I'm going to do any serious bakes here, but the panellets turned out to be easy baking. So here you go! They are traditionally eaten with roasted chestnuts, roasted sweet potatoes and a accompanied by a nice sweet wine like moscatellmistelavi de missa or vi ranci.



250 gr. confectioners sugar
500 gr. almond flour
about 75 gr. water
250 gr. pine nuts
1 egg


Mix the sugar, flour and water into a paste. Use just enough water to form a paste. Knead it until smooth, cover it with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours but preferably 24 hours. The more it matures the better the result is going to taste! 

Preheat your oven to about 180C. 

Take the almond paste out of the fridge and roll balls out of them, about the size of a walnut. Beat an egg until foamy and roll the balls in it. Put the pine nuts on a plate and roll the balls through it until covered. This is a bit of a messy affair at first, but once covered you can roll the little balls between your hands to make the pine nuts really stick and 'line up' with the dough. 

If you want to make them extra shiny, give them a royal egg-white wash after they are assembled. Put them in the oven and bake them until the pine nuts are coloring golden, about 10 minutes, but keep a close eye on them; you don't want your almond paste to get too hot and sag into semi-spheres!

Leave them to cool, store in an air tight container until ready to eat. You can also cover them in crushed almonds or grated coconut ( I did!)

Enjoy! Make sure to visit 'The Breadlab' on Facebook, if you haven't already.  


  1. Freerk, I admire your creativity trying to bake bread in such an baking unfriendly environment! I only had to supply my son's kitchen in Hamburg with spoon measures, rubber spatula, baking brush and some spices necessary for the Apple Cider Donut Muffins ( I made for him.
    These little balls look really nice, maybe they will grace my Christmas cookie plate. By the way, can you get bitter almonds in the Netherlands? I brought some bitter almond essence (Dr. Oetker, of course) from Germany, because here they don't have anything like that.

    1. Yes, I'm in the lucky position to have an Iranian shop around the corner where they sell them sort of under the counter, although they're not even really illegal. I will have to get my hands on some of that oetker oil, because that would be so much more convenient! That's one of those things I cant get here. The good news is that ever since the healthy people embraced raw chocolate, the amsterdam port is not only the worlds biggest handler of coco butter, you can actually buy it there now as well!
      Barcelona was a challenge indeed, but the nice temperatures made up for it. Those people have like two months a year they sort of need to think about wearing a jacket, and they call it winter.... Did you have a good time around our native grounds?

    2. We had a very nice fall with sun and warm temperatures (sitting outside November!). But now its really cold, a big winter storm will interrupt Thanksgiving traffic, and we will head off to Mexico, for 2 weeks, yay!