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Pastas del Consejo or Council cookies

>> Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pastas consejo 6

I'm working on a project that has led me to prepare pastas del Consejo. Because this project has driven me to make a tour through the most historic places in Madrid, my hometown. And there I found charming and ancient pastry shops where traditional sweets are still made with great care for the quality of the ingredients and in their ellaboration. I left Madrid 10 years ago (although I moved to a distance of only 40 km) and, like many natives of gigantic cities, I have always maintained a love-hate relationship with it. When I left, though a more correct description would be run away, I fled to a place with more space, less noise, less mess, less pollution ... ultimately more peaceful. But a couple of unhurried visits around some of its corners have sufficed for me to fall in love with her again ... I'm ready, 10 years after.

Pastas del Consejo, meaning Council cookies, are typical Madrilenian confections, one among the many specialties of one of the more traditional pastry shops in Madrid, El Riojano, located at number 10 the Calle Mayor. They are small cookies in the form of a double spiral, also shaped as small rolls, as the famous panecillos de San Antón, eaten to celebrate the feast of San Antonio on January 17th, can be prepared with this same dough. Mr. Martínez Llopis, in his book La dulcería española (Spanish pastry and sweets), tells us that these cookies were originally called Senate cookies and they only became known as Council cookies during the minority of King Alfonso XIII (1886-1941), who liked them a lot, because he used to eat them while presiding meetings of the Council of Regency with his mother the Queen. No wonder that he spent his time eating pastries... while listening to incredibly entertaining political arguments before being even 18 years old...

Pastas consejo 2

This we are told about El Riojano at the Madrid tourism website, turismo de Madrid:
This pastry shop was founded by Damaso Rioja de la Maza, baker of the Royal House in 1855. The establishment has not changed since then neither in the decor, with mahogany, bronze or marble, nor in the quality of its sweets. Among its specialties are the sugar candies called azucarillos, light snacks traditionally taken with brandy, and pastas del Consejo, so called because they were served in the councils of state. The shop has a small tea room where you can taste their specialties.

Pastas del Consejo (from La dulcería española, M. Martínez Llopis)
Yields around 180 cookies (I'm not good at dividing an odd egg number... you can always freeze half the dough for a rainy day)
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250g sugar (they're not very sweet, add 50g more if you do have a sweet tooth)
  • 125g butter
  • 750g all-purpose flour
  • Lemon extract or zest
  • 1 extra egg for brushing
Pastas consejo 5
  1. Break the eggs, toss them in a bowl and add the three yolks previously separated. Add the sugar and mix well just until the sugar is dissolved, no need to cream them.
  2. Melt the butter and add to the mixture. Then add the lemon zest or extract, to your taste.
  3. Add the sifted flour. I add it little by little, to make a batter that gradually thickens. You can do this in a food processor.
  4. Once all the flour is used, tip the dough on the countertop and roll it with a rolling pin a couple of times, to homogenize. The dough must be soft, but not very sticky. Add more flour if needed.
  5. Pull little pieces and form them into a worm about 9-10cm long (I say a worm because they really have the same size as the earthworms in my garden), thicker in the middle and thinner at the ends. Then twist both ends of this churro, as shown in the photo, and put it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. It's a good idea to keep the bulk of the dough into a zipper bag, to prevent it from drying. Keep only medium chunks at hand while you shape.
  6. While you shape the cookies, preheat the oven to 190ºC (convection oven). If your oven is not convection-aided, then preheat to 200ºC.
  7. When you've filled a whole tray with cookies, brush their tops with beaten egg and put the tray in the oven for 12-15 minutes; watch out because the exact time depends on the oven. It's better to take a look at the browning after 10 minutes. In the meantime keep shaping cookies and placing them on another tray.
  8. When properly browned, take the cookies out to cool on a rack. And they're ready!
Pastas consejo 4

Pastas consejo 3

17 comentarios:

Valerie Harrison (bellini) May 10, 2010 at 4:44 AM  

It's always a pleasure to explore your own area and see it with renewed eyes. Thanks for sharing Miriam.

Belinda @zomppa May 10, 2010 at 5:29 AM  

How lovely! How fascinating it must be to return.

Alina May 10, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

I've always wanted to visit Madrid - I have some books on its architecture/museums at home and it looks so grand! I really like the shape of these cookies - I guess one needs to practise a lot to shape them perfectly :)

Simones Kitchen May 10, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

Madrid is still high on my list of places to visit and your photos are lovely! Great cookies too...:)

denise @ quickies on the dinner table May 10, 2010 at 2:31 PM  

It's always nice to return, isn't it? Those are lovely cookies and your photography is always a treat :)

Kristi@Ja Cie Kocham May 11, 2010 at 1:24 AM  

Those cookies are adorable and sound delicious! I enjoyed reading the history of them. :o)

bunkycooks May 11, 2010 at 3:18 AM  

These cookies are lovely. I had my first trip to Spain last Fall. I hope to get to Madrid at some point. There is nothing better than the European pastry shops! We just don't have anything like them in the states.

Marly May 11, 2010 at 5:38 AM  

What lovely pictures. The cookies look great too!

Drick May 11, 2010 at 11:53 PM  

beautiful little pastry cookie and I love the history behind them, makes them taste so much better - I think these are just the kind I like and are like ones I find in Mexican pastry shops when visiting there, not too sweet but oh so good....

Memória May 12, 2010 at 7:41 AM  

Ahh, gracias por darme otra excusa para volver a visitar Madrid :). ¡Estas pastas del consejo son lindisimas! Se ven muy ricas y delciosas también. Gracias por compartir el video, la historia detrás de estos panes, las buenas fotos, y la receta.

Erica May 12, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

Madrid is a beautiful city! Those cookies look delicious.

Anonymous May 13, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

What a great post and these really do sound delicious!

tasteofbeirut May 14, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

These look so good and remind me of a French sablé cookie; with the photo of the pastry shop you are luring me to Madrid now! See what you have done naughty girl!

Anonymous May 14, 2010 at 11:25 PM  

wow the photo of the pastry shop is amazing. Thank you for sharing!

Miriam May 16, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

Val: thanks!
Belinda: it is...
Alina: not really! The dough is easy to handle.
Simone: thanks!
Denise: yeah, it's nice, when you know you live in a much quieter place, haha.
Kristi: thanks!
Bunky: I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Marly: thanks!
Drick: I'd like to go to Mexico too!
Memoria: muchas gracias!
Erica: thanks!
Ruth: thank you!
ToB: haha, you should come...
Shree: thanks!

Cristina May 18, 2010 at 4:14 PM  

Such a beautiful city with so much history and culture. I enjoyed your slideshow! So beautiful the pastry shop that dates back to the 1800's. These pastas del consejo sound perfect for any time of the day with tea/coffee/chocolate.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine June 2, 2010 at 3:55 AM  

love love love the pastry store and the cookies are perfect as well as the instructions THANKs


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