Panellets, little breads in Catalan, are little confections made for the All Saints day (1st of november) and the day of the dead (2nd of november). They are traditional sweets made in Catalonia region, Spain, with an almond paste (marzipan) and a topping of your choice; it could be pine nuts, coconut, almond, coffee, etc. The pine nut one is by far the most popular, although the base stays the same; an almond paste. You can make them with or without potato, they say the best ones are made without, although to make the pine nuts stick to the balls, I believe the potato version is better. Another important point is to make the almond paste rest in the fridge for a day before forming the panellets. This way the oil from the almond flour make the paste bind perfectly together.
This recipe makes nice little treats for christmas also, and the kiddos can help out making them, in different shapes. The coconut one in Catalonia is usually of pyramidal shape and the pine nuts panellets are usually round, the almond one is cylindrical but ultimately its shape is up to you. Although they are use for Catholic religious days those panellets were most probably brought in Spain by the Arabs, back in the 18e century, which use almonds paste and nuts regularly in there confections. So those have quite a long history behind them.
So let’s make those little treats!
Panellets de pine nuts and coconut
Makes about 30 panellets
- 150g of almond flour
- 150g of sugar
- 100g of sweet potato
- 2 egg whites
- organic lemon zest (organic since lemon zest even when washed is filled with insecticide)
- 200g of pine nuts
- 200g of coconut shredded
- 200g of almond bits *optional
- Add the almond flour, sugar and zest of a lemon to a bowl and mix well
- Add about 2 tbsp of water to the mix and work it until homogeneous paste
- Cover with a plastic film and let set in the fridge overnight
- Next day, make small 2 cm balls (or other shapes) with the paste, add to the egg white then in the pine nuts (or coconut, almond) and cover the ball good
- Add to a baking sheet, on a baking tray
- When they are all done, add a tiny bit of sugar to the egg white and mix, brush the panellets with the egg white left
- Cook in the oven at 200°C (400F) for about 10 minutes (or less, until the balls are golden)
- Let them cool and get firm before serving