Corbatas de Unquera, or in English, "Neckties from Unquera" are a typical and traditional pastry named for the town of Unquera, in the northern Spanish region of Cantabria. Cantabria is located on the Cantabrian Sea, between the regions of Asturias and the Basque Country. Depending on the area within Cantabria, these delightful puff pastries are known by different names - corbatas in San Vicente de la Barquera, polkas in Torrelavega and sacristanes in Liérganes.
Corbatas are so easy to prepare, they are ready in less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Cut the puff pastry sheet into long strips, twist into "bowties" and brush with beaten egg white, and sprinkle the ends with ground almonds. Bake in hot oven until crispy and golden. Serve with hot coffee or a cup of thick Spanish hot chocolate.
- Remove pastry sheet from freezer and set on counter for approximately 20 minutes to thaw.
- Tips: Cover pastry sheet with plastic while thawing, so it does not dry out. If puff pastry is too warm, it will become very soft and sticky, making it difficult to work with.
- Chop the almonds with a large, very sharp knife, or pulse briefly in a food processor.
- Separate the egg white from the yolk. Put the egg white into a small glass mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and powdered sugar and whisk together until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Heat oven to 400° F (210° C).
- If pastry has thawed enough to twist without breaking, place the puff pastry on a cutting board or stone. Cut the pastry dough into strips about 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
- If pastry is dry and cracks a bit, sprinkle with a bit of water to moisten, and press the pastry together with fingers.
- Twist dough strips to form "bowties" and place on a baking stone, or cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, apply the egg white mixture to the ends of the "ties" and sprinkle chopped almonds on top of both ends.
- Bake the corbatas for about 10 minutes on the center rack until they are golden. Remove corbatas carefully from the baking sheet with a spatula, and allow to cool on a rack.