I am entering into the last week before my holidays as I am off to Spain right this Saturday. It’s been 20 months since I was last there. I can’t be any more excited!
And talking about holidays, my parents have now been in Jaen for over a week visiting my grandparents. This reminds that if I still lived with them I would also be there, having travelled all the way down from Barcelona and spent almost half day driving-not me though, but my dad. However, things are no longer like this since I moved to Oxford and now I must organise all of this independently. And if we meet there, as during the last occasion (Christmas 2018), then it is awesome! The next time I pop around I will face a massive and unwanted change: my granddad Juan passed away on February 2020. It’s going to be hard and I am not sure whether I am prepared yet for it.
My holidays memories are vast, ranging from the places I used to go, the things I used to do, the people I used to meet with and, of course, the food I used to eat. In a previous post I mentioned the delicious Ochios and today it’s a sweet treat starring this chapter. Sabiote cakes is the name I have given to this brioche-like bread because I have never known them by an official denomination. My grandmother Dolores simply calls them tortas (cakes) because they are the most popular of the area. And since she is from the beautiful town of Sabiote, I will just name them after the place where I always eat them.
But what has been my surprise that I have found their official denomination: Tortas Dormías (Sleepy cakes) or Tortas de San Marcos (Saint Marcus’ cakes). Nevertheless, for me they will always be linked to the place of origin of my paternal family. To those days where the time was irrelevant and I would eat my breakfast without any rush. To the rural town that I have been lucky enough to know. To my most direct relatives, the people I love the most in the Earth.
Think of dunking a piece of this in your coffee, with a clear sky and a shiny sun over you. With the cry of a rooster, tweeting birds and the peace of the countryside. It is fair to mention that those my grandmother buys are twice bigger, but I decided to bake some smaller ones in order to make the most of the ingredients. I always find inspiration in Conxy Gastroandalusi and she credits this recipe too. Fluffy and with an intense note of olive oil, these cakes will have a reserved place at coffee or tea time once you try them.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 8)
Strong white flour (550 g)
Lukewarm milk (200 ml)
Dried yeast (10 g)
Extra virgin olive oil (100 ml)
Sugar (200 g)
A pinch of salt
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
Begin by mixing the yeast and the milk. Transfer into a bowl and add the sugar, the olive oil, the egg, the salt and the lemon zest. Blend well everything with an egg whisker.
2. Add gradually the flour and mix until you form a dough. Once it starts sticking off the bowl, tip on an even surface greased with olive oil. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Then, return it to the previous bowl (you should grease the base before), cover with a kitchen cloth and let it proof for about 30 minutes.
3. After the raising, deflate the dough and cut eight small portions. Using a rolling ping, shape them in small, flat circles and transfer into an oven tray covered with baking paper. Cover with a kitchen cloth and let them proof for 2-3 hours.
4. Preheat the oven at 200 Celsius and bake for 20-25 minutes. If you wish, apply egg wash on each cake to achieve a more intense golden colour. When still in the oven, cover the cakes with kitchen foil for the last five minutes to avoid burning on the top.
5. Bring the cakes out of the oven. While they are still very hot, brush them with water and sprinkle some sugar to decorate. They will be ready to eat once they cool down.