I don’t think there is any other country in the world that has as many festivals as in Spain. We are quite known for our party lifestyle and most wonder when we actually get down to business as it always seems that we are constantly having days off in honour of some random Saint or Virgin (every city, town, village has their own one). I’m pretty sure that on most days of the year there is a at least one festival going on somewhere around the country.
At the moment we are in Carnival mode. In Valencia, where I live, Carnival isn’t a public holiday as there isn’t as much of a tradition to celebrate it, probably because a few weeks later we blow all our budget on Las Fallas, Valencia’s main festival. It is however, big business in my dad’s area (Galicia) where it is known as “entroido”, Cadiz, Tenerife and countless other areas around Spain.
As with most festivals, we have many recipes associated to these days, particularly sweets such as this one. Leche Frita, literally means fried milk, and is very popular in Northern Spain (the exact origin is disputed) during this time of the year and also Easter, which follows. The only way I can describe it is as fried custard squares.
1 litre milk
70g plain flour
70g cornflour (or cornstarch in US)
40g white sugar
1 lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
Cinnamon sugar (white sugar mixed with cinnamon powder)
1 egg, beaten
Melted butter, to grease
1 Heat 800ml of milk with lemon rind and cinnamon. Once it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and combine the sugar til it dissolves. Leave for 20 minutes to become warm and then remove the lemon rind and cinnamon stick.
2 Meanwhile, in a bowl add 200ml of cold milk and gradually beat in the flour, cornflour and eggs. Beat well and make sure there are no bumps. Gradually whisk this cold milk mixture to the warm milk mixture.
3 Return the pan to the heat and whisk until the mixture becomes thick. If for some reason the mixture splits you can use a hand immersion blender to fix it.
4 Grease a square/rectangle container (the size depends on the thickness you want the final product) with melted butter and pour in the leche frita mixture. Spread and bang on a surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge till it sets (at least 2 hours).
5 Run a knife around the edges of the container of leche frita mixture and turn it out. Cut into square or rectangles. Coat with flour, dip in beaten egg and fry in plenty hot oil.
6 Once fried, coat in cinnamon sugar.
Eat warm or cold. Personally, I prefer them cold especially if there is a bit of vanilla ice-cream thrown into the mix.