Tortas de aceite (Olive oil and Anis biscuits from Andalucia)

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Today is a special day in the south of Spain. It is Andalucia Day and I have fond memories of having lived in Málaga along the coast. My parents live in a very beautiful place in Andalucia called, “Ronda” and two wonderful things are produced there.

Olive oil (What a surprise ;))

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And anis liquor…I confess that was a surprise for me!

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You see the bridge on the labels? That is an 18th century bridge that looks like this:

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It is one of the most famous tourist sites in Ronda.

And it overlooks this:

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Ronda is lovely, without a doubt. People from Andalucia take a lot of pride in their gastronomy, and with good reason. Butter is hardly ever used in their cooking or baking. These tortas are like biscuits with a lovely anise flavour and are a common sight in bakeries or coffee shops.

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Usually they are quite large but I prefer them smaller. And yes…I prefer making them myself! This recipe is from a popular cookbook in Spain called, “Webos Fritos” and it is simple to do!

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Frankly, I think they are divine. Maybe you will enjoy them too.

Makes 16

50 g extra virgin olive oil
The peel of half a lemon, pith removed
1 tablespoon of anis seeds [You can also use fennel seeds]
180 g strong flour
10 g fresh yeast
70 g water
20g anis flavoured liquor
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
15 g sugar
A pinch of salt

Heat the oil in a pan on low heat. Fry the lemon peel.

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When it is fried, take it out and put in the anise seed. Fry for a minute. Take it off the burner and let it cool.
Put the flour in a bowl and sprinkle the fresh yeast in the middle. Put in the oil and anise seeds and all the rest of the ingredients in the center. Knead for a few minutes and make a ball. Leave it to rise in a lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap for an hour, or until it doubles in size.

Before

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After

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Preheat the oven to 220°. Divide the dough into 20 g portions and make little balls. Arrange them on parchment paper. Let them rest for 5 minutes. Flatten each ball with your hand [or lightly oil the bottom of a flat bottomed glass and flatten each ball with it] until they are very thin.

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Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes until they are golden. Store them in an airtight container.

Enjoy! Xxxx Natascha