almonds/ cinnamon/ citrus zest/ membrillo/ pudding/ recipe/ Spanish

Recipe: Flavour fiesta – Tarta de Santiago

Tarta de Santiago.
Tarta de Santiago – delicious with ice cream.

Now shocking though it might seem for someone writing a food blog, I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth. Even as a child, I was never particularly mesmerised by bonbons, biscuits, or chocolate and this is a trait that has remained with me to this day. Don’t get me wrong, if I am out to dinner I will more often than not finish proceedings with a sweet of some variety, but this tends to be somewhat of an afterthought.

The upshot of my apparent sweet indifference is that I rarely tend to cook puddings unless I’m entertaining. But when I do, as was the case when cooking my Spanish-themed lunch for friends a couple of weeks ago, one of the sweets I frequently serve is based on the delicious recipe for Tarta de Santiago to be found in the well-thumbed pages of my copy of Moro – the cookbook.

Tarta de Santiago is a deceptively simple, yet incredibly appetising almond-based tart which originates from the Spanish region of Galicia. It literally translates as “St James Tart”, in honour of the patron saint of Spain, the remains of which are buried in the Galician capital city of Santiago de Compostela.

This particular version of the tart combines almonds, with intense citrus notes provided by lemon and orange zest, exotically aromatic cinnamon, and the nutty-fruity flavour that comes from a generous glug of oloroso sherry. The quince paste which is spread on the tart base also gives a fruity, slightly tart hint to the pudding.

Tarta de Santiago can be served either warm or cold and is great accompanied by yoghurt or crème fraiche. Personally, I like to pair it with the delicious ice cream made with vanilla, and raisins soaked in Pedro Ximénez sherry, but you will have to obtain your own copy of Moro – the cookbook, for that particular recipe.

Actually, having just realised how effusive I have been about how good this particular pudding is, maybe it’s the case that I’m not so averse to sweets after all…

Easily serves 6 people when accompanied by crème freche or ice cream.


1 x sweet pastry tart shell (sweet, short-crust pastry blind baked in a 21cm fluted flan tin with a removable base)

For the filling

  • 130g membrillo (quince paste)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 230g blanched almonds, ¼ processed to chunky, the rest medium
  • Finely grated zest of one small lemon and one small orange
  • 1 ½ small cinnamon sticks, finely ground
  • 40ml of oloroso sherry
  • 115g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs

Preparation and cooking 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a pan melt the membrillo with the water and lemon juice over a low heat so that it does not stick. Stir out any lumps and then spread evenly on the bottom of the cooled tart shell. Set aside.
  3. Mix the almonds, orange and lemon zest, cinnamon and sherry and leave for 5 minutes for the flavours to mingle.
  4. Beat the butter and the sugar together until pale, soft and fluffy, then add the eggs one by one. Don’t worry if the mixture appears lumpy and not emulsified.
  5. Add the almond mixture into the eggs and mix together, then ease into the pastry shell and spread out roughly.
  6. Bake the tart on a middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a golden brown crust has formed.

Serve with yoghurt, crème fraiche, or ice cream.

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