from one generation to the next
Spanish sugar coated olive oil and fennel wafer biscuits have no local equivalent in flavour or texture. When I lived in Melbourne I could buy imported Ines Rosales brand Tortas de Aceite from specialty retailers, but they came with a hefty price tag, upward $12AU.
In Spain they are easy to find and cheap, every supermarket has them on their shelf. They’re not particularly exciting to look at, but the thin discs of pastry have a delicious slightly sweet, lighted salted subtle fennel flavour. I like them with wine, I like them with tea and coffee, actually I like them too much.
There is nothing tricky in the making although I did simplify the recipe in my inimitable style.
Tortas de Aceite are usually made with wheat flour but the recipe I used recommended spelt as an alternative. There was no compromise to the texture or flavour, in fact they are very much like the genuine Spanish tortas. They are usually about 10cm in diameter, saucer size, but I made them smaller in the hope that the batch would last longer, probably a tad optimistic on my part seeing how much I like them.
My recipe for Tortas de Aceite made with spelt flour is adapted from a recipe of the same name on Kellie’s Food to Glow. Thanks Kellie, this recipe’s a winner.
Spanish Olive Oil Wafers with Fennel Seed
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons brown sugar
80 mls of good quality extra virgin olive oil
70 mls cold water
1 egg white whisked until foamy
1/2 cup approx raw sugar (demarera)
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Mix together all the dry ingredients, a whisk will help break up any lumps of the brown sugar.
Add the oil and water and stir until combined.
Tip the dough onto the bench and lightly knead until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the dough is pliable and feels a little oily.
Roll the dough into balls about 3cm in diameter.
Place onto baking paper lined trays, I got six on each, then using the palm of your hand and fingers, flatten the dough as thinly as possible without tearing. The discs should be about 8cm in diameter.
Brush each disc with egg white then sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Continue until all the dough is baked.
Makes about 30 tortas de aceite, 8cm round
Store in an airtight container