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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Gazelle Horns
Photo by: Lord-Williams
medias lunas, tobillos, ka’b, “gazelle horns,” buns made in the shape or “half moons,” crescent shaped 13th C roll, “knee shaped,” or “ka’b,” in the shape of an extended circle, without a crown. These were the forerunners of croissants, which originated from Andalusia. 

By the 15th C the croissants known today were being made in Christian Spain. The Turks introduced them to Vienna in the 17h C. or visa versa. Who introduced them to Austria is disputed. Some say that they came with Ferdinand I of Habsburg, brother of Charles V of Habsburg who was Charles I of Spain and that when the Turks invaded, to belittle them, Austrians presented them with the bun in the shape of a half moon to eat. Others maintain that it was the other way around to show their domination, the Turks presented the half moon breakfast bun to the Viennese. 

Actually, bakers in Budapest, who rising early, prepared the buns in the shape of crescents to warn inhabitants of the Turkish invasion. For this the attempt failed and the croissant became a symbol of victory for the Budapestians. 

Cutting Dough into Squares, then Triangles and Rolling It
Photo by: Lord-Wiliams
It was not until the 18th C that Marie Antoinette, wife of Luis XVI, is said to have introduced it to France. In the 8th C. the ingredients included a little oil, warm water, salt, ginger, anise or fennel and if desired sugar, some almonds and rose water. After baking, sometimes they were topped with pine kernels or caraway seeds. By the 15th C. cold butter was included and the secret of success was the dough, which had to sit in a cold spot before baking. See "Pan Varios." [Benavides-Barajas. Nueva-Clásica. 1995:39-40:263; and Misc. Conversations with José María Lancho. Mar 7, 03]


Half Moon Sweet Roll
Photoby: Lord-Williams

230 grs or 1 ½ c flour
115 grs or ¾ c butter
60 gr or 1/3 c sugar
3 egg yolks

plus sugar and 1 egg beaten


PREHEAT OVEN TO 400º F/ 200º C

Mix all the above ingredients together till it becomes a smooth dough. Then roll it out and cut it into squares they cut the squares diagonally into triangles. Roll the triangles beginning and the longest base. Curl the ends to make half moons and trim the edges with a knife. Brush each roll with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sifted sugar. Bake about 20 minutes depending upon the size.

1 Recipe is adapted the American-Spanish Cook Book, Cocina Hispano Americana, #346, pg 299, Edición a Beneficio del Hospital Anglo-Americano de Madrid, Ediciones Garriga, S.A., Madrid, 1959.
2 Probably a pinch cinnamon is mixed with powdered sugar sprinkled over the tops of each roll.

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