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Paciencias, Castilian cookies

>> Friday, June 11, 2010

Paciencias 1

This is the story of a failure. No, my dear little creatures, not everything in my life is success. Not everything in my life is luxury, beauty, power and gigolos, as you would imagine. Sometimes I suffer reversals of fate. I don't know if I'll ever recover from this setback in particular.I fear that it can ruin my incipient and already uncertain career as a master pastry chef... it could force my confinement in bed, reduced to a wreck without the strength to overcome it, as Charlie's grandparents, yes, Charlie of the chocolate factory. So much distress in such a small body (in vertical direction). I shall now tell everything... Everything? Yes, everything... I will spare no gory details.


I happened to have a substantial surplus of egg whites, from past cakes, custards and various pastries. So I rose one day and I told to myself, you could try to make paciencias (literally patiences), you liked them a lot when you were small. Paciencias are small round cookies typical from various parts of Castilla, the central part of Spain. So intelligent of me. There's little information about them in the net, poor creatures, but I found a recipe for a regiment (which I divided by four) in one of my cookbooks. I had to convert the old units in the recipe to less ancient units, but I was determined to overcome any obstacle to prepare my dear paciencias (which in certain places are also called pedos de monja, nun farts...). The recipe, from some pastry shop in Soria, was utterly vague about the stiffness of the egg whites, about the type of sugar to be used and about the temperature of the oven... I interpreted the recipe as best as I could, but I obviously did something wrong.

Paciencias 4

Paciencias
Yields around 200 (yes, sooo many)

  • 280ml egg whites (10 in my case)
  • 400g sugar
  • 460g flour
  • 1 pinch salt or cream of tartar
  • A few drops of lemon essence
Paciencias 3
  1. Preheat the oven to 250ºC.
  2. Weigh the sugar and the flour and set aside.
  3. Pour the egg whites in a food processor with the salt or cream of tartar and start to whip them. When they start to foam, add the sugar little by little till you get a stiff meringue.
  4. Then add the sifted flour and the lemon essence. Mix well with a spatula or in a stand mixer, till no flour lumps can be seen.
  5. Prepare a pastry bag and fill it with dough. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper and pipe little mounds of approximately 3cm diameter. Keep the bag tip close to the paper, so that the cookies stay flat.
  6. When you've filled one of the sheets with cookies, rap the sheet on the counter for the cookies to spread a little and flatten. Leave them to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Put them in the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes. Take them out and leave them to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Then slide the paper out of the tray with the cookies on it, sprinkle water on the sheet and return the paper. Wait a couple of minutes for the paper to soak the water. The cookies can now be easily released. Cross my heart.
Well... genuine paciencias have a finer texture and a more uniform color than mine. These were a tad grainy. I remember paciencias as fine and hard little things, toasted on the outside. Maybe it's not necessary to make the meringue so stiff, but somewhat more runny. Maybe the sugar has to be superfine instead of regular. I don't know. If anyone owns the secret for making perfect paciencias, I'm willing to buy it. Make yourself apparent. Now.

Paciencias 2

Anyway, my kids loved them, they found them addictive and the cookies were gone in no time... They were pretty yummy, as the flavor was indeed almost as it should be, but I should give mine another name... templanzas, esperanzas, caridades or... failures. You can't always get what you want.

25 comentarios:

Belinda @zomppa June 12, 2010 at 12:25 AM  

If this is your mistake, I'm not sure I can handle your perfections! These look like little vanilla wafers. Would love some with a cold glass of milk.

Cook with Madin June 12, 2010 at 12:28 AM  

Hi, I remember having these when I was growing up in the Philippines. We spell it "Pasensiya" I bought some at the Asian Market one time, actually they were imported from the Philippines, but I was disappointed with the taste. Yours really look good. Thank you for sharing.

Edith Pilaff June 12, 2010 at 4:03 AM  

Hi,they look delightful!
In Sardinia meringues are sometimes called nun farts....
Compliments on your blog,so full of temptation!

GreenGirl June 12, 2010 at 4:13 AM  

If all my "failure" would look like that I'd very happy
Yours look amazing and the pictures are beautiful.

Heidi Leon Monges June 12, 2010 at 6:58 AM  

recuerda a Santa Teresa:
"nada te turbe, nada te falte.....
...la paciencia todo lo alcanza!"

and maybe that is why they call those little treasures paciencias?.

theforeignkitchen June 12, 2010 at 2:21 PM  

ahh, but aren't failures sometimes the best mistakes?!

If you used powdered/confectioners sugar for your egg whites they might be finer but also sweeter. I make a similar cookie using fine crystal sugar mixed in with the egg whites and then beaten until very stiff.

Cheers from The Foreign Kitchen,
Martina

Trix June 12, 2010 at 3:29 PM  

200! Goodness! Well, whatever you think about your Platonic cookie ideal vs. reality, they look really good. But I am still getting over the shock that your life is not all gigolos! This is a stunning blow. ; )

Damaris June 12, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

this looks very similar too the cookies my grandma makes in Brazil. Good memories are always associated with food, huh?!

ajcabuang04 June 12, 2010 at 6:17 PM  

I actually made Paciencias a couple wees ago with a different recipe. I used the filipino version. Yours look good! You can check mine out on my blog! :D

http://ajscookingsecrets.blogspot.com/

fromBAtoParis June 12, 2010 at 6:24 PM  

Estuve analizando la receta...tratando de ver si estas galletitas no son las que en argentina se llaman polvorones..Para mi tienen una pinta barbara las que hiciste...la irregularidad del color no sera el horno?
De cualquier manera, es el tipo de galletita que para mi es "adictiva"...puedo sentarme a ver la tele y comerme 20 juntas !!

Sortachef June 12, 2010 at 8:33 PM  

Thanks for a great recipe and a forgotten memory. I had a friend growing up whose mother had to kick us out of the kitchen when she made cookies like these... they were so good we'd just gobble them up! Thanks.

tasteofbeirut June 12, 2010 at 9:46 PM  

They look mighty good to me! and tasty to boot!

bunkycooks June 12, 2010 at 11:45 PM  

These look like perfect cookies although I know they were not as you expected. Lovely photos and I sure would not turn them down!

The Urban Baker June 13, 2010 at 7:10 AM  

oh gosh, I have egg whites. you have inspired me! these look delicious!

Alina June 13, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

Aww looking at your pictures, I would have never thought this was a failure! I think all meringue-like cookies are very capricious, I guess it might also depend on the sort of eggs... I would love some of your Paciencias anyway!!

bellini valli June 13, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

If everuone loved them these could not possibly be a falure, but I am all to familiar with the quest for what we remember.

Karolina June 13, 2010 at 10:44 PM  

Although I cant see myself making 200 tiny lovely paciencias I am pretty sure I would be able to eat most of them. ;) Beautiful.

Jason June 14, 2010 at 2:44 AM  

I suggest using caster (superfine) sugar. Often I find that egg white based cookies are grainy unless it is used. It dissolves better into the original meringue.

I've got a ton of egg whites in my freezer (about 40) so maybe ill make up a double batch of these tasty morsels!

MrsLavendula June 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

those are beautiful pacencias! i love these with ice cold milk!

M. June 15, 2010 at 6:14 AM  

200 cookies??? I'll take them all! beautifully looking, very well done!

Shree June 16, 2010 at 8:31 PM  

a mistake? wow. these look amazing. And the recipe looks simple too. I think I will keep this one for making later. Thank you for sharing

Miriam June 18, 2010 at 4:41 PM  

Belinda: thanks!
CwM: it's funny how many Spanish dishes have an echo in the Philippines that I never heard about... it's so nice to know!
EP: haha, thanks!
GG: thanks!
Heidi: maybe... ;-)
TFK: thanks for the tip!
Trix: I thought so... so sad... (sigh)
Damaris: in Brazil! Soooo interesting!
A: I will!
Cristina: sí, las cosas en tamaño pequeño son muy peligrosas...
Sortachef: haha, thanks!
ToB: thanks!
Bunky: thanks!
TUB: hope you like them!
Alina: you're right about the capriciousness of meringues...
Val: yes...
Karolina: thanks!
Jason: I've got to try that, yes. Hope you like them if you try to make them!
ML: thanks!
M.: haha, thanks!
Shree: thanks!

Jessiker June 22, 2010 at 7:19 PM  

Well then! I think I love how your mistake looks! Beautiful petite and tasty!

The Daily Palette December 24, 2010 at 3:40 AM  

I love paciencia cookies! Similar to macarons except made with wheat flour not almond meal.

Choc Chip Uru February 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM  

These cookies look so full of flavour :D
I am certainly glad to have found your blog!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru
Latest: 5 Min Wrap Pizza

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