1st Dec 2023 @ 6:00 am

Canarians have a sweet tooth, and Christmas is one of the times when they’ll indulge it without shame. Here are a few Canarian Christmas treats for you to try at home this month.


INGREDIENTS (makes 20-24 pastries)

• 1kg sweet potatoes

• Lemon peel

• 1 tspn anise

• 250g white sugar

• 100g toasted almonds

• Shop-bought dough (look for “masa empanada” in supermarkets)

• Icing sugar for dusting

• Olive oil


Peel the sweet potatoes, cut into chunks and put into a deep pot with water, lemon peel and anise. Boil for 20 minutes or until the potato can be pierced with a knife.

Drain, remove the lemon peel and mash until pureed.

Add the white sugar and mix well to incorporate ensuring there are no lumps.

Blend the almonds, stir into the potato mixture and set aside.

Cut the dough into tea-plate sized circles. Now, place a tablespoon of the potato mixture in the middle of each circle. With a wet finger moisten the edges of the circles and fold over, sealing the edge with the back of a fork.

In a frying pan add a good amount of olive oil and bring to a very high heat. Fry the pastries until crisp and golden brown on both sides, then place on kitchen paper. Once cooled, finish off with a dusting of icing sugar.


Despite its name, this dessert doesn’t have any cheese in it. It’s a sweet milk-based treat that’s as popular among Canarians as it is on mainland Spain, where it’s called flan.


• 1 can of condensed milk (370g)

• 500 g Milk

• 5 eggs

• Zest of 1 lemon

• Caramel syrup


Put the condensed milk in a bowl, add 1 and a half cans of normal milk (using the empty condensed milk can), the eggs and lemon zest. Mix well until combined.

Squeeze the caramel syrup into a cake mould (or a special ring-shaped flan mould) until it covers the base of the mould. Pour in the mixture. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Put the mould in a deep oven tray and pour in boiling water until it reaches halfway up the mould.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook for at least an hour or until set (to test if its ready, pierce with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it’s done.)

When set, remove from the oven, let it cool and then place in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

To serve, flip the mould with a plate on top and tap with the back of a spoon until it releases.


A desert made from almonds that is deliciously sweet. It can be enjoyed on its own, but we think it’s best served with a cake or scoop of ice cream.


• 250g raw peeled almonds

• 250g white sugar

• 250ml water

• 4 egg yolks

• Zest of half a lemon

• ½ tspn ground cinnamon


Blend almonds until they form a sand-like texture.

In a pot add the water and stir in the sugar until dissolved.

Bring to the boil and turn down to low. Add the ground almonds, lemon zest and cinnamon while stirring continuously until thickened.

Remove from the heat and set aside until cool.

Add the egg yolks to the mixture and combine well. Bring to medium heat and stir until it reaches a thick and dense consistency.

Remove from the heat and set aside until cool. Store in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

Serve with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream or a slice of cake.

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