What I love about Christmas is food. It opens a window of opportunities to cook and bake delicious recipes. Around Christmas time my neighbours would always bring us some Pestiños over, which I always adored and hadn’t made myself until today.
It’s a sweet Christmas treat that is fried and covered in honey or sugar. The making of Pestiños is an old tradition, especially common in the South of Spain, around Andalucía. The recipe is likely to come from the Moors but has probably evolved over the years. Important aspects of this sweet are the honey-coating, anis seeds and its particular shape. The oil used is of course olive oil.
Although the most traditional recipe is made with a honey-coating, many people use icing sugar instead, making it a fantastic vegan alternative.
Andalusian Honey-coated Christmas Fritter
- 75 ml olive oil
- 1 cinammon stick
- 1 tbs anis seeds
- 250 g flour
- 75 ml sherry wine
- Pinch of salt
- Couple spoons honey
- Extra oil to fry (light olive oil or sunflower oil)
Heat the 75 ml olive oil, cinnamon stick, lemon peel and anis seeds in a pan, bringing it to a gentle fry. Leave to fry for a couple of minutes until the seeds are toasted. Then set aside to cool down to room temperature.
Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel from the olive oil. Then mix with the flour, wine and salt. Knead well and form a ball. Leave dough to rest in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel for one hour.
Use a rolling pin to extend the dough over a smooth surface. Aim for a very thin layer and cut into 5x5cm squares. To give the Pestiños its unique form, fold and press two opposite ends together. Make sure they are well attached, since otherwise they will come apart during the frying process.
Bring the frying oil to medium heat. Meanwhile prepare a bowl with honey and 1/3 of water. Mix well by slightly heating the honey. Then fry a couple of Pestiños at a time until golden brown. Turn them around half way through to ensure they are fully cooked on both sides.
Once ready, remove Pestiños from the oil onto some kitchen towel for the excess oil to be absorbed. Then bathe well in the honey mixture and place on a plate or sieve to cool down.
Serve once cold. If you wish, add an extra bit of honey. They should be sticky and yummy!