[Sca-cooks] Leaf pastry devloped into puff pastry

Robin Carroll-Mann rcarrollmann at gmail.com
Fri Nov 21 19:52:54 PST 2008

On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 6:18 PM, Terry Decker <t.d.decker at att.net> wrote:

> I think how one translates "hojaldre" is a function of time and place and I
> must admit that my understanding of Spanish etymology is very limited.  I
> have no idea what the definition of the word was in the 15th Century.
> Modernly, I have a recipe that makes it out to be rough puff pastry dough. I
> also have a Panamanian recipe that makes it out to be a fried bread.  Like
> the references from Amiens and the Liber Albus, if the word can't be tied to
> a recipe or a description, then there is no way to be certain as to what is
> being discussed.
> Bear

I suppose I should throw in my two maravedis.  The oldest definition I
have for hojaldre is from Covarrubias (1611).

la torta de manteca, que de muy sobada con ella, esta' hecha hojas una
sobre otra.

My translation would be:
the tart [dough] of fat, which being well kneaded with it, is made
[of] leaves, one upon another.

A few notes:

This definition is rather vague.  It *could* mean that "hojaldre" is
made like phyllo, with multiple layers of thin dough.  It could also
mean that -- like puff pastry -- it forms the layers during baking,
and that Covarrubias is describing the finished product.

The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy says the leaves form
during baking, but as that was written in 1734, the meaning may have

I translated "hojaldre" as "leaf pastry" because it's the most literal
translation that follows the etymology ("hoja" means "leaf").
"Pastry" is not part of the Spanish word, but it's needed for context.
 It may *be* something very like puff pastry, but to translate it that
way would be drifting from the etymology, and making assumptions.

"torta" is normally "tart" or "cake", but here I am sure that he is
referring to the dough that forms the crust.  In the same source, the
adjective "hojaldrado" is defined as anything made with ojaldre [sic].

Modernly, "manteca" is lard.  Covarrubias defines it as animal fat,
but it can sometimes refer to butter.

I believe that Granado has instructions for making "oxaldre", and I'll
look for that.  In the meantime, I'd love to hear Suey (or anyone else
fluent in Spanish) comment on Covarrubias' definition.

Brighid ni Chiarain
mka Robin Carroll-Mann
My NEW email is rcarrollmann at gmail.com

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