Panellets are little marzipan-style sweets that come in different shapes and flavors. They are typical fall Catalan sweets usually eaten on or around November 1st, which is All Saints Day and lacastanyada (the chestnut party, if you will…), although you can find them in the bakeries for quite some time in fall. The most popular ones are round and coated with pine nuts, but there are also covered with almonds and coconut panellets.
The base for the dough is almond flour and sugar (a marzipan), and the variations are endless. Some people use potato or sweet potato for the dough. I grew up with the idea that panellets with potato was cheating because you replace the good (and expensive) ingredient -almond- by the not so good (and cheaper) one -potato-. So, I don’t use potato. Just almond flour, sugar and egg that acts as the binder for the dough.
Since I moved to the US I tried to make panellets
every year. I like them (although I’m good just eating one or two) and they are
fun to prepare, especially with the kids who get to mess around with the dough
and pine nuts. But this past fall was super busy and I did not get to make any.
BUT in November my very best friend Elisenda and family came to visit and they brought
a pre-packed ready-to-go panellet kit for me 😊.
This kit has basically all the ingredients measured for you and you just have
to make them. It even comes with a tray and a paper doilie to serve! But it wasn’t
until last weekend that I had time to make them…
There is this unwritten rule that pine nut panellets
are round, almond coated ones are rectangular and the coconut ones are a pyramid
shape. This time around I made them all round, because, why not? Much easier
and quicker (especially when you are making them with 3 kids); plus, the coconut
ones always burn from the tip of the pyramid…
I did not follow the package recipe because I did not use potato and I reduced the amount of sugar (they’re always too sweet for me) and they turned out great! And added bonus, I was very happy that I was able to give some to my friend Roger (another Catalan living here) as a present for this birthday on Sunday 😊.
Typical fall Catalan dessert. Fun to make and fun to eat!
10.5 oz (300 gr) almond flour
5.3 oz (150 gr) white sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3.5 oz (100 gr) pine nuts
2 oz (60 gr) coarsely ground almonds
2 oz (60 gr) unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 400F
In a big bowl mix the almond flour, sugar, lemon zest and one egg with your hands until you have a soft dough.
Roll out little balls (less than 1-inch in diameter) with your hands.
Put the pine nuts, almonds and coconut in three different bowls. Whisk the other egg in a bowl.
Roll the balls in the egg and then into the pine nuts bowl so they stick to the surface. Do the same for the almond and coconut. It is not that easy to get a perfectly covered panellet, specially with the pine nuts. You may need to finish them by sticking them one by one to the panellet so they look nice.
Put them in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Brush the panellets with the remaining egg.
Cook for 8-10 minutes or until they are golden on the top.
Let cool and enjoy with some sweet wine!
Keywords: panellet, almond flour, marzipan, pine nuts