Tortell is a Catalana King Cake. It is often filled with marzipan, but can also be filled with Crema Catalana. It is typically served on January 6 at the finish of Twelve days of Christmas. It usually is served with two hidden prizes. One is a figurine of the three kings and the other is a dry bean. The one who gets the three kings is to get good luck for the year, much like our Mardi gras King Cake; and the one who gets the bean pays for the kings cake or does the dishes.
It takes two days to make Tortell. The first day you make a starter dough and let that rise.
It is a small little dough. While that is rising I make a batch of Crema Catalana for the filling. Then I make a second dough and add back in the first dough.
You let that rise. Depending on when you want to serve the cake you can shape it and keep over night to rise. Or do that shaping later. As they serve this for a holiday feast most recipes recommend shaping and leaving in the refrigerator over night. I am serving this for dinner, so I do the shaping in the morning.
I’m to roll out the dough into a circle. I have my trusty Sili-Mat, but still no luck getting a circular shape. I really think the issue is with me.
Slather on the creama Catalana.
I made a mess. Well thats okay nothing a paper towel can’t fix!
Now shape it back into a circle. Traditionally this is done with a crown in the middle, but I didn’t stop at my local burger king to get one. So I use a handy bundt pan.
Its a little mushed on one side hopefully none notices. Now let it rest for a bit.
Aha! It rose enough that the weird shape is gone. Now to decorate. Okay there was some wine served between when I decorated and it rose some more. Oh well looks good.
Into the oven and then the result. Great. The cake is flaky with a bit of weight. The crema catalana is amazing. The candy melted and made a mess of the oven, but the cake is good and we cleaned the mess while it was still warm, so easy to clean.
Well this concludes Andorra for me. It has been a great experience with some ups and downs. My favorites being Bacalao Esqueixada, Pa amb Tomaquet, Trinxat, Creme Catalana, and Fideuà. My next country is Angola.
Original recipe can be found here
- 1 packet yeast
- 1/4 cup warm whole milk
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 2 1/2 cups of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoon cold butter
- 3 1/8 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoon milk powder
- zest of half a lemon
- zest of one orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 beaten egg
- candied fruit
- powdered sugar
- Crema Catalana
- In a bowl, combine yeast with warm milk. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let stand for one hour.
- In a bowl or kneading machine, put flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, the zest, the cold butter and lightly beaten eggs. Kneed for 2 minutes.
- Add in dough and knead for 10 minutes.
- Leave in a bowl and cover with a floured tea towel and place somewhere isolated from drafts, such as the oven, until tripled in volume (~2 hours)
- Roll out dough in a circle.
- Spread crema Catalana in the middle of the dough.
- Roll the dough into a tight pipe and shape into a circle. There should be a hole in the middle and work the crown so that the dough remains evenly distributed.
- Line a tray with greased parchment paper, and shape the dough. Paint the dough with a beaten egg.
- Let it rise in an unheated oven until it doubles in volume (overnight is fine).
When it has doubled in volume, again paint with beaten egg and decorate with candied fruit and sugar.
- Cook in a preheated oven at 180 ° C (350ºF) to be blonde (about 20-25 minutes). (I would have just put the heat on low.)
- When it is cooked, remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.