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"Ensaïmades, the typical Balearic specialty, are a type of soft and round pastry made with fine wheat flour (xeixa), eggs, sugar and water. The dough is left to sit one or two days depending on the season. It’s then spread on a wooden surface, smeared with pig fat (saïm) and then turned over. Lastly, the small pastries are shaped. When they come out of the oven, they’re sprinkled with ground sugar. They come in different sizes and prices: breakfast ensaïmades are generally sold for 4 to 6 escudo cents (8, 10 or 15 cents); a larger variety to which they’ve added a bit of sobrasada sausage, fat or bits of carabassat (jellied squash) is eaten as a snack, or as part of lunch, the day’s main meal.

Cuartos are generally served with ice cream and shaped like coixins. They are one of Mallorca’s great specialties. Their fluffiness and easy digestion makes them some of the best pastries that I have ever eaten. To make them, egg yolks are carefully beaten with sugar in a bowl (ribella); the egg whites are beaten in another bowl. Both are then mixed, adding sifted starch flour until obtaining a fairly dense dough. The latter is broken up and placed into small paper or tin molds and then put in the oven. Once baked, they are sprinkled with better quality ground sugar and removed from the molds.

Medritxos are small, elongated and flat pastries made using the same dough as for the cuartos, though adding a bit of better quality flour.

Congrets are small, thin round and somewhat concave pastries. They are chocolate colored on the outside and white inside. Their preparation is a secret belonging to the nuns, but, according to one well-informed person, the trick is as follows: prepare a dough of twelve carefully beaten eggs, a pound and a half (approximately 3/4 kg) of sugar and five spoonfuls of starch flour. The pastries are then shaped and placed on a paper and put in a high-temperature oven.

Rosquillas are small donut-type pastries shaped like congrets but whitish in color and somewhat hard, though very highly appreciated. To make them, they take 12 beaten eggs and mix them with a pound (1/2 kg approximately) of sugar, a small cup of oil, another cup of  rose water and enough flower to make a solid dough. The rosquillas are then shaped and put in the oven just like the congrets."

Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. Las Baleares por la palabra y el grabado. Majorca: General Part. Ed. Sa Nostra, Caja de Baleares. Palma de Mallorca. 1982.


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