Coca de Llardons, as we call it in Catalan, is a traditional Spanish sweet pastry topped with pork rinds, sugar, and pine nuts.
Traditionally, coca de llardons was mainly prepared and consumed during Fat Thursday (Dijous Llarder in Catalan, or Jueves Lardero in Spanish).
What is Fat Thursday?
Similar to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Fat Thursday is the last celebration before Lent.
Lent is a 40-day reflection period before Easter and it starts after Ash Wednesday.
Lent period is associated with fasting and giving up certain luxuries in order to commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.
It is not strange then, that people would take advantage of enjoying all kinds of foods, meat, and alcohol during the days previous to lent. Coca de Llardons today
Nowadays, it is still tradition to eat coca de llardons, Spanish omelette, and botifarra (catalan sausage) on Fat Thursday. However, coca de llardons is not unique to that day anymore. It is actually a common pastry to find in many bakeries.
So, no need to worry. If you visit Catalonia, I’m sure you will be able to find a bakery that makes coca de llardons, and you’ll be able to enjoy the deep and contrasting flavors of this traditional sweet pastry.
Pork in a sweet pastry?
Understanding the food of a country, it is understanding a big part of the country and its culture. Spain is one of the top world producers of pork. Hence, it is not strange to find many recipes that contain pork cooked and processed in many different ways.
I have no idea who had the idea of combining pork rinds and sugar, however, it was approved by everyone!
Coca de llardons consists of a crispy puff pastry base topped with crushed pork rinds, sugar, and pine nuts.
It is pretty simple. Simple, and yet really flavorful.
Let’s get to work now, and surprise your family and friends with this Catalan recipe!
COCA DE LLARDONS
Traditional Spanish sweet puff pastry topped with pork rinds, sugar, and pine nuts.
o Puff pastry (one sheet, about 250g)
o 150g Pork rinds (Chicharrones ES = Llardons CAT)
o 1 Egg
o 50g (approx.) Pine nuts
o 70g (approx.) Sugar
Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. If you are using a frozen puff pastry sheet, you can just reuse the parchment paper that comes with the puff pastry.
If you are using a pre-made frozen puff pastry, take it out and roll it out a little bit more with the help of a rolling pin. If you made your own puff pastry, roll it out into a 10x13 inch rectangle, more or less.
Prick the puff pastry all over with a fork and brush the top with a beaten egg.
Process the pork rinds in your food processor until finer in texture and spread them evenly all over the dough.
Add some pine nuts on top and sprinkle with abundant sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toasted.
Let it cool to room temperature, and enjoy!
TIPS & NOTES
o Pork rinds: I didn't find the same kind of pork rinds that I buy in the butcher shops in Spain. I used the pork rinds that come in bags and they are usually on the "chips" aisle.
o Process pork rinds: You can use a food processor for a faster result. Careful do not process them too much so that they become powder. You still want some texture and small chunks.
o Puff pastry is extra crispy when recently baked, but it loses it's crispiness as hours pass by. So, I recommend enjoying it as soon as possible. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container. It will last 2-3 days.
o Regain Crispiness: I have a small toaster oven which I use when I want to crisp up bread and pastries. You can also broil it on low for a few minutes.