Sherry Pastries Flavoured with Fennel, Cloves and Cinnamon

Preparation info

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  • Makes About


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By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

This is an exciting recipe to make but much care is needed as the hot oil and cold sherry makes plumes of smoke and steam. Anyone entering the kitchen while you’re making them could suspect you of practising alchemy! Although pestiños are traditionally a Christmas treat, they are good any time of the year and excellent with good black coffee. Or serve them with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream and Pedro Ximénez sherry, as a quick and easy dessert. This recipe makes a large quantity of pestiños, but they store well in an airtight container and will keep for weeks.


  • 90 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) fino sherry
  • sunflower oil, for deep frying


To make the cinnamon sugar, combine the caster sugar and ground cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sea salt and ground cloves in a large heatproof bowl and combine well. Form a well in the centre.

Put the oil and the fennel seeds in a frying pan and fry the seeds over medium heat for a few minutes until the seeds brown and release their flavour. Remove from the heat.

Pour the hot oil into the well in the dry ingredients then immediately and very carefully add the sherry. Allow to bubble for 10 seconds and when the bubbles subside, mix together with a wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a soft pastry. Bring together into a loose ball with your hands. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until about 3 mm ( inch) thick. (A large chopping board is good, as you can take the pastry directly to the deep-fryer.) Cut the dough into 1 × 8 cm (½ × 3¼ inch) strips using a crinkle-cut pastry cutter.

Fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat the oil to 170°C (325°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Deep-fry the pestiños in batches for a few minutes until golden. Drain on paper towel. Allow to rest until cool enough to handle then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.