The coca (plural coques) is a type of pastry that’s traditional all around the Mediterranean. Although its exact origins have been lost in the mists of time, it’s thought to have come from dough left over in kneading troughs. Housewives took advantage of this leftover dough, baking it flat and even sprinkling it with sugar, serving it to finish off a meal.
Coques come in all shapes and sizes. In the words of Eliana Thibaut i Comalada, a true expert on the subject, ‘What stands out is the huge variety of the different forms’. (Les coques catalanes, Edicions Proa, Barcelona 1995). They’re usually divided into two broad categories: sweet or savoury and open (flat) or closed. The vast majority of recipes are for open coques, both sweet and savoury. All these varieties are made in Andorra, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia, using all kinds of different ingredients: meat, fish, vegetables and even cured meats.
Sweet coques, like the traditional Andorran coca masegada, are associated with many festivals and celebrations. Easter, Christmas, Epiphany (the typical roscón de reyes bread is actually a kind of coca) and, of course, the coca de Sant Joan that’s an integral part of the summer solstice celebrations. On the other hand, there are other countries, such as Italy, where coques have no connection to festivals or religious holidays.
In short, coques are a basic part of our cuisine that are enjoyed by everyone from all backgrounds. So, we’d like to invite you to try our coca masegada when you come to Andorra.
Mix all the ingredients together and beat well. The resulting dough should be very thick, like a bread dough. Knead it well, continuing to work it without allowing it to go soft. Once the dough is ready, cut it into thick pieces, form them into round shapes and flatten them slightly using a rolling pin. Score the surface in the form of a square and prick all over with a fork to stop the coca from puffing up when baked. Bear in mind that the more flour you use, the better it usually turns out.
You could also make coques using dough left over from bread-making.
Some people use water instead of the milk, and some leave out the anise.
Before baking, the top is sometimes lightly brushed with oil, and then sprinkled with sugar.
- A splash of liquor
Book: Costumari i receptari de la gastronomia andorrana (Traditions and recipes in Andorran gastronomy)
Author: Maria Dolors Ribes Roigé / Josep Ma Troguet Ribes
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