Tecula Mecula. Now here is quite a complicated name! But let’s not be intimidated, Tecula Mecula is a delicious dessert.
It is actually an egg and almond pie. The Spaniards of the autonomous community of Extremadura claim that it is the best almond pie ever. The Tecula Mecula brand is also a registered trademark of Casa Fuentes, a bakery in the city of Olivenza that claims the original recipe of this pie.
Tecula Mecula aka imperial almond tart
The Tecula Mecula is commonly called the imperial almond tart. Indeed, it turns out that this almond pie was the favorite dessert of the Emperor Charles V. The latter often retired in Extremadura, a region of western Spain and was delighted with this dessert. This pie was eventually forgotten.
At the time, this pie was prepared with lard and this tradition is preserved until today in the pastry shops of Olivenza in Extremadura. Also, it was in Olivenza that the Tecula Mecula resurfaced in the 1930s. The Casa Fuentes pastry shop in Olivenza has even registered the Tecula Mecula trademark.
Since then, this almond and egg tart is part of the regional culinary tradition of the Extremadura region. The peculiarity of this pie is probably related to the introduction of a sugar syrup in its composition. It also contains egg yolks, which give this pretty golden color. The texture of the Tecula Mecula is halfway between the Parisian flan (but very compact) and the almond cream.
Finally, it takes a little dexterity to write the words Técula Mécula on the pie. Expert pastry chefs will master the technique of the paper cone. However, if this method scares you, I recommend you fill a pastry bag with a # 1 round tip with melted chocolate. You will have more control over the writing, and the rendering will be all the more beautiful. Be careful to write the T and M in capital letters as the tradition dictates!
In short, this almond pie is a must in Olivenza. Also, even if the Tecula Mecula recipe is nowadays quite easily found, Casa Fuentes is careful not to reveal all its secrets. You will have to go to Olivenza in Extremadura to taste the authentic Técula Mécula!
What is the origin of Tecula Mecula?
Etymologically, Técula Mécula means “(a coin) for you – (a coin) for me” in a deformed Latin that was once spoken in the region of the Iberian Peninsula. The name was certainly transformed from one language to another, passing through Portuguese, Castilian, Galician and Catalan.
For the record, bakers are formal in the village of Olivenza in Extremadura: an old lady would have found the recipe for this pie in the 1930s in a trunk belonging to her mother. The recipe was titled Técula Mécula. It turns out that this old lady was the grandmother of the owner of the famous house Casa Fuente.
The old lady would have encouraged her little girl to sell these pies to neighbors and friends. Over the years, the little girl (now the owner of Casa Fuentes) has perfected the recipe, adjusting the proportions of the ingredients and perfected the baking. Following this success, Casa Fuentes registered the trademark Técula Mécula and claimed the recipe for this pie.
Also, it is very likely that this delicious egg and almond pie is a legacy of the Arab (Moorish) world. The influence of the Arab world is strongly felt in the Iberian Peninsula since they governed it for more than 5 centuries (711-1249) in a large part of the current territory of Portugal and Spain. The preparation and ingredients of the Técula Mécula suggest that this pie is a culinary heritage of their stay in Portugal. Like Middle Eastern and North African pastries, the Técula Mécula contains a lot of almonds in its preparation. Also, these pastries are often made with sugar syrup.
If you are a fan of Parisian flan and almond cream, this almond and egg tart will delight you.
- A 8 oz. sheet of puff pastry (see note for recipe)
- 2½ cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 9 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 2½ cups ground almond
- 2 tablespoons lard , melted
- 3 tablespoons flour , sifted
- 5 oz. chocolate 52% cocoa
Place the puff pastry in a round mold of about 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches high and prick it.
Set aside it in the refrigerator, which will help the dough not shrink while cooking.
Melt lard and set aside until it reaches room temperature.
Pour the sugar and water in a saucepan. Mix gently and bring to a boil over low heat.
Stir occasionally with a spoon, preferably a wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
During cooking, clean the edges of the pan several times with a slightly wet brush to prevent the caramel from hardening on the sides.
Increase the heat and cook until syrup reaches a temperature of about 215F to 220 F (maximum) with the help of a thermometer.
Dip the pan in a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking of sugar. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 340 F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs for two minutes. Then, while beating the eggs, add all the sugar syrup gradually.
Lower the speed of the mixer and while beating, add the ground almond, the two tablespoons of melted lard, and the flour. Beat gently until everything is well incorporated.
Pour this mixture over the puff pastry previously reserved in the refrigerator.
Bake and cook at 340 F for 40 to 50 minutes.
Let cool completely before melting the chocolate and write the word “Tecula Mecula” using a pastry bag and a plain thin tip.