This is a sweet cake that is produced around Easter time in the Valencian region, and it’s also one of my favourites!
In fact, I like it so much that I learned to make it, because it’s impossible to source it in London, and I was missing it lots each time I spent Easter in the UK.
One of the defining features of this bun is that it uses eggs both in the dough and in the decoration, which has many variations: you can brush the top with beaten egg, or whisk the egg white with sugar until it stiffens and use it to decorate the top the bun, or you can even place an egg on the bun before baking, which makes it look like an egg nesting on the bun (this is most typical of the smaller, individual pieces). Often, the eggshells are dyed with food colouring, so this makes for very colourful pieces that you’re sorry to eat.
Tradition has it that you should take a mona with you on a country side walk on Easter Monday, to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Then, when you find a nice and calm spot, you sit down and eat your mona outdoors, while enjoying the early warm weather and the sight and scent of flowers (hopefully without too many insects!).
And if your mona includes eggs, it’s quite traditional to ‘crack’ them on the forehead of your family members or friends… preferably by surprise! 🤪
Although local shops are starting to stock things again, they are still quite unpredictable, plus going to them is really unnerving, what with people not respecting any distance or being considerate of others, etc. So we have been trying a bunch of different grocers that do home deliveries; the quality is also higher than what we get in the nearest shops, and we seem to be finding who our favourites are in terms of speed, quality and reliability.
It’s good to be able to establish some sort of predictability after all these weeks of uncertainty.
We used to do most of our grocery shopping in the shops in the area, but since the ‘outbreak’ and the ‘lockdown’, it all has been really messed up, with shops packed with people but devoid of food.
Now that most of our fresh food shopping comes from erratic and unpredictable home deliveries, and is complemented with whatever we can find when we venture onto the shops once a week, we’ve had to “change our paradigm”.
Or in other words, instead of going from recipe to ingredients, we’re now going the other way: here’s the ingredients, what can you do with them?
The 9th of October is the Valencian’s Community day, commemorating when King Jaume I conquered the city of Valencia in 1238 and yadda yadda… Of course, the most interesting aspect for us in this blog is the food, and there is a specific type of sweets that are eaten at that time of the year: dolços de Sant Dionís or (pardon my terrible translation) Saint Dionysius sweets.
These are made of almond, sugar and egg white (plus whatever colouring you feel like adding). I used orange and a green colourings, and mixed them in various amounts, depending on which vegetable or fruit I tried to mimic.