Fogassa d’Ontinyent

A fogassa just out of the oven - a round bun with almonds and walnuts on top and sugar on top

This is an enriched sweet bun which also happens to be one of my absolutely favourite Valencian sweets. It has everything you could wish on an autumn bun: softness and fluffiness, aromas, caramelised nuts, juicy raisins… EVERYTHING!

It is my hometown’s local take on the slightly more widely known “Fogassa de Tots Sants” i.e. All Saints’ Fogassa, which was eaten on that day before going to the graveyard to pay respect to the dead. Nowadays you can buy it during the whole month, and you might even convince a local baker to make you one out of season (por encargo).

What I have also found is that by virtue of being so extremely local, the recipe isn’t readily available online or in books, and it has taken me about six iterations to come up with a recipe that tastes how I remember it tasted. In fact, the pictures for this will show you how I ended making four fogasses last week-end, trying two flours and two yeast amounts. I am that scientifically committed to the quest for the perfect fogassa!

And I am also finally pleased with the results and happy to share! ūüėé

A fogassa sliced open, so we can see the soft fluffy crumb with the ocassional raisin and aniseed. There are almonds and sugar on top
Nice fluffy crumb
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Cauliflower fritters

Cauliflower fritters, with salad and black tahini sauce

I bought some spices online, and an interesting looking recipe by Susie Morrison (Gourmet Glow) was included in the box. I did not have any better ideas for dinner, so I thought: why not try this?

What a success! We’ve made several times already, and I predict there will be more repeats (if only because we’ve bought more za’atar‚ÄĒall these repeats depleted our stock!)

That said, the original instructions confused me a bit, and they also suggested using some ingredients I did not have at hand, so this is my own interpretation, adjusted to my own way of cooking.

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A happy accident: freadafels (falafel buns)

Freadafels (Falafel buns)

I was trying to make flatafels, but using yellow peas instead of chickpeas.

Yellow peas, we found out in another attempt to make hummus with them, are sour if you just soak them but don’t cook them. So this time I had soaked and cooked them in the pressure cooker, but it seems that I went a touch overboard with them, and they were too soft. Borderline mushy. Ew.

To make things worse I also blended them in the food processor, as I was sort of just following the normal recipe for falafel.

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Carquinyols (Vall d’Albaida style)

Carquinyols / casquinyols in a saucer

This is the type of low-key sweet that you would get on a visit to the bakery‚ÄĒgo to buy a bread loaf, and come back with that but also half a quarter of these for your mid-morning coffee.

Unfortunately, someone in my family has developed a nut allergy so they’re not casually acquired anymore, and they’re also quite regional so I haven’t had the chance to find them in my most recent visits to Valencia. And then, there’s lockdown and no travelling, so… time to bake some, as I’ve been craving these for a while!

They’re quite easy to make, so if you are tired of baking cookies and shortbreads and feel like attempting something more exotic, try this. (I mean, at this point going to a different supermarket a few blocks away already feels super “exotic”, so imagine baking something typical from two countries away!)

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