Coca de Sant Joan
The coca de Sant Joan is one of the most popular coques, yeast breads, in Catalonia and there are various kinds: sweetened with marzipan, cream or whipped cream and decorated with pine nuts, crackling or candied fruit. It is traditional to eat it on Sant Joan night, when it is shared out at the parties and accompanied by sweet or Rancio wine, though these days those drinks are giving way to cava.
The coca de Sant Joan derives from a tortell with eggs that people used to eat: a round cake that clearly recalled sun worship. According to the chef Ignasi Domènech, it must be twice as long as it is wide.
Ingredients: 250 g strong flour, 200 g candied fruit (melon, orange, cherries, etc.), 75 g milk, 55 g soft butter , 55 g sugar, 25 g pine nuts, 20 g baker's yeast, 2 eggs, half a cup of anisette, grated lemon rind, salt, sugar, oil and butter.
Dissolve the yeast in warm milk.
Add three spoons of flour and work it into a smooth dough. Leave it to rest until it has doubled in bulk.
Make a well with the flour on the pastry board and put the butter, eggs, sugar, salt, grated lemon and anisette in the middle.
By hand or using a fork, mix the ingredients in the middle, add the fermented dough and continue kneading it with the flour until you get a smooth, compact dough.
Spread it out on a baking tray coated with oil or butter. It should be oval-shaped and about 1 cm thick.
Brush it with egg, put the pieces of candied fruit over it and leave it to rest until it has doubled in bulk.
Spread the pine nuts on top, throw sugar over them and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180º.