Ponche Segoviano, traditional cake from Segovia

Ponche Segoviano, traditional cake from Segovia

Eva 15 enero, 2021
Este post también está disponible en Español

Today’s recipe is one of those pastries with tradition, classics and I would even dare to say old-fashioned. I don’t care about this at all, in fact, I’ve been interested in this type of recipes for some time now and that’s why I’m looking for and collecting as many as I can to leave them here for you so they don’t fall into oblivion. This Ponche Segoviano is a dessert that, in case you haven’t tried it, you should do it as soon as possible.

Like any dessert or classic sweet treat, it contains a set of quite caloric elements. But I also say one thing, if we eat a small portion of this marvel, nothing will happen to us either. Besides, our palate will make us the wave from the first spoonful.

Ponche Segoviano, traditional cake from Segovia
Ponche Segoviano origin.

As its name indicates, it is a typical pastry of the city whose aqueduct was declared a World Heritage Site, Segovia (Spain). Its main ingredient is egg yolk, followed by ground almonds. This pastry has a characteristic that distinguishes it and that is the caramelized top trellis.

The formula for making this dessert is a well-kept secret that has passed from parents to children since the confectioner Frutos García Martín began to market it at his El Alcázar confectionery, founded in 1926.

Coming from Madrid and as a partner of the recognized and reputable restaurant Lhardy, Frutos García Martín, arrived in Segovia. He settled in the shadow of the Cathedral of Segovia, in a place located in the Plaza Mayor under the name “El Alcázar, Confitería Bombonería“.

What he felt with Segovia was an arrow, he was totally taken by the city as he writes in one of his confectionery diaries and manifests:

“I want to create a confectionery product of such quality and exquisiteness that it will be identified with the confectionery of my property, the Alcazar, and, as such, of Segovia”. This is how Ponche Segoviano® was born, which from its beginnings began to gain great fame, thanks to its distinction given by its delicate formula managed to satisfy the most demanding palates.

The Royal Palace of “La Granja de San Ildefonso” had been a place of recreation for the Bourbon dynasty and all the nobility located in Madrid in previous years.

Don Frutos sends a gift to the monarch, and soon receives letters from the house of His Majesty the King. King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia expressed their gratitude by being given the Ponche Segoviano at the Alcazar. At the same time, they urged Don Frutos to present the product in the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1929. After exhibiting it, he obtained the first gold medal.

Thus the Confectionery began its activity, offering a wide range of products that were very well received by the public and enjoyed great popularity.

Ponche Segoviano has been made by hand for almost a century in his bakery, despite being a product imitated by many. There has even been a war of patents for the authorship of this sweet, which finally won the confectionery El Alcázar as inventors of the product and the texture.

Ponche Segoviano, traditional cake from Segovia
Ponche Segoviano is a dessert of rectangular format.

Although we can also find it square, which alternates layers of fine and sweet yolk cake. Once it is assembled, it is covered with a marzipan sheet and sprinkled with powdered sugar. To give it its distinctive finish, it is marked with the help of a red iron that helps the sugar to caramelize.

When eating it we can appreciate a sweet, aromatic taste and a set of very soft and juicy textures. A complete show for the senses.

Confectionery the Alcazar and its authentic Ponche Segoviano.

It is located in a perfect setting, in the Plaza Mayor of Segovia next to the cathedral.

Throughout the years, Don Frutos maintained a tireless work for the confectionery industry in Spain. This led him to win the Gold Medal of the Confectionery Guild in 1963.

Since those years the company has not stopped its activity offering the sweets that Don Frutos created in his day. The evolution has come thanks to the clientele that demands this product. Its elaboration is always guaranteed by a high quality raw material and the hands of the invariable artisans of the family that elaborate the product.

Ponche Segoviano recipe

FOR SPONGE CAKE:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 40 sugar (divided in 2 parts)
  • 25 g pastry/cake flour
  • 25 g corn starch
  • 15 g whole milk

FOR EGG YOLK PASTRY CREAM:

  • 3 large eggs(168 g, shelled)
  • same weight of sugar as eggs, in my case 168 g
  • 90 g water at room temperature
  • 15 g corn starch

FOR SYRUP:

  • 60 g water
  • 20 g lemon juice
  • 80 g sugar
  • cinnamon powder to sprinkle when assembling the cakes

FOR MARZIPAN (I used 195 g to cover the cake):

  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 120 g icing sugar
  • 5 g honey
  • 17-20 g water

DECORATE:

  • icing sugar

Instructions

FIRST DAY

Prepare the marzipan.
  1. In a large bowl mix the ground almond with icing sugar, honey and water.
  2. Start mixing the ingredients with the help of a silicone spatula. Once it begins to acquire a more solid consistency, knead it with our hands.
  3. Knead the dough very well until a uniform, smooth and manageable consistency is achieved. It will take a while.
  4. Flatten to shape a disc, wrap very well in film and let stand in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  5. In the video you will see that I make more quantity, I took the opportunity to prepare a bigger one plus this for the recipe. In total I needed 195g to cover it, but it's good to do a little more to avoid lacking marzipan.

SECOND DAY

Temper marzipan.
  • Take the marzipan out of the fridge and temper it for 2 hours before working with it.
Make egg yolk pastry cream.
  1. In a small bowl mix the sugar with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the eggs together with the water and mix well with a whisk.
  3. Pour into a medium saucepan through a strainer to remove strands from the eggs.
  4. Add the mixture of sugar and cornstarch, place at medium low heat, and cook non-stop stirring with the whisk until the mixture thickens. It will take 7-10 minutes.
  5. Once the mixture begins to thicken, it will do it very quickly. To guide you, the mixture will be ready in density when it has a temperature between 199º-204ºF/93º-96ºC. In the video you can see the consistency of the cream.
  6. Remove from the heat and pour it into a large container. The bigger it is, the less time it will take to cool down.
  7. Cover with film and let it cool completely at room temperature.
Make syrup.
  1. Pour the water with lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan. Place at medium heat and let it boil. The sugar should be completely dissolved.
  2. Once it comes to the boil, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
  3. Set aside at room temperature.
Make the sponge cake.
  1. Preheat oven to 390ºF/200ºC.
  2. Sift the flour along with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. Separate the yolks from the egg whites.
  4. In a medium bowl add the yolks and start beating with an electric hand mixer.
  5. Add, little by little, only half of the sugar (20 g) as we beat increasing the speed progressively. We must whiten the yolks, these will increase their volume.
  6. Once they are ready, add the milk and mix at low speed until it is completely integrated. Set aside.
  7. Whip the egg whites together with the other half of sugar (20 g) until firm and bright peaks are obtained. Set aside.
  8. In a large bowl pour the mixture of yolks and begin to add, little by little, the mixture of dry ingredients. We will integrate both elements with soft and enveloping movements, and we will not add more until both have been completely integrated.
  9. Once we have added all the flour, begin to add the meringue. We'll do it the same way, in batches and with gentle, enveloping movements.
  10. Place the mixture in a piping bag.
Bake.
  1. To prevent the ends of the paper from lifting or moving when you pipe the batter, place a few small "points" of batter in the corners. In this way the paper will remain fixed.
  2. Cut the tip of the piping bag and pipe the batter. Make a rectangle which will occupy almost the entire surface of the tray. Then fill the inside trying to exert the same pressure all the time.
  3. Smooth the surface with a spatula.
  4. Place in the oven for 7-8 minutes. We will observe that it acquires a light golden color for the surface. We are not interested in drying the sponge cake.
  5. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on a rack.
Assemble ponche segoviano.
  1. Place the cake upside down on a clean work surface and, carefully, remove the baking paper.
  2. Keep the cake on the baking paper that has just been removed. This step has helped us to remove the cake from the paper.
  3. With the help of a sharp knife, cut the edges. In this way we will give a cleaner finish, as well as removing those parts that are drier.
  4. Divide the sponge cake into 3 equal parts, my longest side measured 30 cm and the narrowest 11.5 cm.
  5. Place one of the sponge cakes, with the golden side down, on a strip of baking paper or where we are going to serve it. Once assembled, it will be very difficult to move it because the cake acquires a lot of moisture and we can damage it.
  6. Brush, generously, with the syrup all over the surface of the cake.
  7. Spread a layer of egg yolk. In my case I divided all the cream in 3 equal parts to fill it.
  8. Sprinkle with cinnamon powder to taste.
  9. Place another sponge cake and repeat the same process.
  10. Finally, put the last layer of cake, brush it with syrup and cover it with the rest of the cream.
  11. Level the edges.
  12. Refrigerate while stretching the marzipan.
Stretch the marzipan to cover ponche segoviano.
  1. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on a silpat, this will prevent the marzipan from sticking.
  2. Place the marzipan on the silpat and sprinkle some powdered sugar on the surface.
  3. With the help of a roller pin, stretch the marzipan until it has a sufficient surface to cover the ponche segoviano. In my case I left a thickness of about 4 mm.
Cover the cake with marzipan.
  1. Carefully, take the marzipan stretched out and place it over the filled cake.
  2. Adjust the marzipan with your hands, making sure it is perfectly joined to the cake.
  3. With the help of a sharp knife, remove all excess marzipan. Wrap all the leftovers very well in film, I recommend you to join them until you get a homogeneous mix, and we can keep them refrigerated to reuse them again.
Finish decorating.
  1. Generously sprinkle the entire surface of the cake with powdered sugar.
  2. With the help of a thick edged knife or a skewer, mark the surface simulating a trellis.
  3. To toast the trellis we have created, we can use the blowtorch directly on the furrows or heat a skewer with the blowtorch and then mark to burn the sugar. In my case I didn't have any metal skewers and what I tried to do with it didn't give good results.
  4. Serve. (Flavor and texture is better if you let rest the cake aseembled one night in the fridge, next day sprinkle with icing sugar and toast)
    Ponche Segoviano, traditional cake from Segovia

Notes

  • The yolk pastry cream has a very simple process of preparation, but requires care and patience when we are cooking. Do not stop constantly stirring the cream to prevent lumps from forming, they would spoil the final texture. In the end we must be a little more energetic when mixing.
  • The sponge cake to make the piononos has no baking powder just as we should not make it with a rising flour. It will obtain volume and sponginess thanks to the merengue and the whipped yolks.
  • We must be careful to integrate the meringue to favor that the final result is spongy. I have always done it with a spatula, but if we do it with a whisk and a lot of care, we manage to integrate all the ingredients much better without the risk of having small lumps (of flour or meringue).
  • We should not exceed the baking time of the sponge cake because we would obtain a dry result and it is not what we are looking for. But we don't want a raw cake either. It will be ready after 7-8 minutes or once it has a soft and beautiful golden colour.
  • The syrup will help us to maintain the juiciness in the cakes and prevent them from drying out. I think a little rum would have done him a lot of good. If it is a sweet that you are not going to serve to children or people who cannot consume alcohol, I think this addition would give it a very distinctive flavor.
  • The amount of cinnamon can be adjusted to your tastes.
  • This time I made the marzipan using almond, powdered sugar, honey and water, as I did for the marzipan eel. On other occasions, as in this pan de Cadiz, I make use of egg white. Since marzipan is not going to be baked later, I preferred to opt for this option which presents no health risks (because it contains uncooked egg) and gives very good results.
  • The quality of the ground almond is very important. Not only for the taste, but for the final texture. If it is of poor quality, the almond will be very dry and the dough will need more water to be added. I leave this to your choice because I know we are talking about an expensive ingredient, but it is certainly worth using a good quality. You can even grind it at home, buying Marcona almonds, for example.
  • The marzipan rest time is necessary, do not omit it.
  • If you don't have a blowtorch, you can draw the lines with cinnamon powder.
  • They can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
    Ponche Segoviano, traditional cake from Segovia

Something good can come out of this cold weather we are having, like being able to enjoy a good piece of Ponche Segoviano. A perfect dessert for this weekend or a wonderful snack to accompany a coffee, tea or whatever you prefer to drink.

I have to admit that at the beginning I was not sure if I would like the whole thing, I had the feeling that it could be too sweet. Not at all. It is an exquisite, delicious and heavenly snack. I assure you.

So, if this weekend you don't have a dessert in mind, I encourage you to try it and tell me what you think ;)

I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Big hugs,
Eva

Sources: Confitería Alcázar

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