Yemas de Santa Teresa - St. Teresa's Egg Yolks

An interesting tradition in Spanish cooking is the abundance of monastery sweets that call for many egg yolks. This is thought to come in part from sherry and wine producers, who used egg whites for refining or clarifying wines. The remaining yolks were often given to a convent or monastery in town for use in baked goods and confections. The most famous of these sweets are candied egg yolks called simply, yemas (meaning “egg yolk”) or Yemas de Santa Teresa because of their association with the convent in Avila. Yemas are a rich and creamy, traditional Spanish dessert made from egg yolks, granulated sugar and water, then coated in powdered sugar.  Yemas de Santa Teresa are a popular treat on her feast day, October, 15.

Yemas de Santa Teresa Recipe

3 oz water
1/2 cup sugar
peel from 1/2 lemon
6 egg yolks
powdered sugar

Put water, sugar, and lemon peel into a small saucepan. Dissolve the sugar, while bringing the water to a boil. Continue to cook until the mixture is at soft ball stage (238 degrees), stirring often. Remove from heat, and remove peel.

Separate the yolks from the whites and beat the egg yolks. Pour the beaten egg yolks into a saucepan. Pour the hot mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. With heat on the low, stir the mixture slowly and continuously with whisk, until the yolks begin to solidify – up to 10 minutes. The mixture will easily pull away from sides and bottom of pan at this point. Remove from heat. Spoon onto a plate and allow to cool.

After the mixture has cooled, sprinkle powdered sugar through a sieve onto a countertop. Place yolk mixture on top and roll it to cover in sugar. Pinch off a small bit of yolks, about size of a walnut. Roll it into a ball and roll in powdered sugar to cover.  Chill yemas in refrigerator.  The powdered sugar on the outside will form a small crust as the balls cool.  Makes about 8-10 yemas.
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