The bienmesabe is a typical dessert of Canarian gastronomy with a well-deserved name. Today you can buy it already ready and packaged but the truth is that preparing it at home is not too difficult. It is a kind of unctuous paste, somewhat grainy and thick, which is usually eaten alone or as an accompaniment to ice cream or flans. Sometimes it is also used as a filling for other traditional sweets such as trout. Like many archipelago desserts, almonds are the main ingredient, accompanied by syrup, egg yolks, lemon peel, cinnamon and, depending on who prepares it, a dash of sweet malvasia (a typical wine from the islands), biscuits or butter .
As they say in the book A journey through Canarian cuisine, it is believed that the bienmesabe is of Arab heritage and that it “arrived in the Canary Islands at the time of the conquest and came from the south of the Peninsula, probably adopted from the bienmesabe from the Malaga town of Antequera”. However, if we look at the Andalusian sweet in question, we see that it is more similar to a cake and that it is not exactly the same as the canary, since it has a thin sponge base. Although bienmesabe is prepared on all the islands – and there is its own version in each kitchen – the one in Tejeda, a town in Gran Canaria known for its almond trees (so much so that they celebrate the Almond Blossom Festival every year), is especially popular.
Easier than saying bienmesabe.
For 4-6 people
- 250 g raw shelled almonds
- 250g white sugar
- 250 ml of water
- 4 egg yolks
- The zest of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grind the almonds in a food processor until a kind of coarse sand remains.
Prepare a syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, without stirring.
Once all the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat and add the ground almonds, lemon zest and cinnamon. Stir constantly until thick. Remove from heat and let cool.
Beat the yolks and add them to the almond mixture. Incorporate well and cook over medium heat again without stopping stirring. It will be ready when it has a thick consistency. Store in the fridge.
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