The sweets of Todos los Santos continue to star in the most sweet side of October, with products that are already common to all of Spain but that in each region coexist with their own elaborations, often associated with other festivities. So it happens in Majorca, where these days they celebrate Santa Úrsula with the curious feast of Les Verges and the sweet “fritters of the virgins”, which have been tempting for several days from the counters of the pastry shops.

Traditions change and many shops and businesses may now have incorporated nods to Halloween or are already offering nougat, but nothing can with that nostalgic passion that awaken the most traditional sweets. In Mallorca they also prepare wind fritters at this time, but they are the bunyols de les verges those who become the protagonists of a peculiar festival.

Saint Ursula and the legend of the eleven thousand virgins

On October 21 the feast of Santa Úrsula, a 5th century martyr whose figure had a notable diffusion in medieval Europe, and whose celebrations still have roots in some areas such as Mallorca. Although perhaps few remember the poor woman.

Saint Ursula Death

Fragment of the reliquary of Saint Ursula, by Hans Memling (Memlingmuseum).

Legend has it that Ursula, the Christian daughter of a Breton king, agreed to marry a pagan monarch in exchange for his conversion and that he could perform a pilgrimage to Rome with a private entourage. After their betrothal, the newly crowned undertook the journey accompanied by eleven thousand virgins, a thousand for her and a thousand for each of her eleven maidens. They reached the holy city without complications, but on the return journey, joined by Pope Ciriacus, they were besieged in Cologne by the Huns.

The virgins and maidens were murdered, and Úrusa, whose life was spared in principle because of her beauty, was finally executed by Attila himself by refusing to accept him as a husband. The lady thus became a martyr, with the arrow that killed her as a personal iconographic attribute.

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Sweet potato fritters in exchange for serenades

The tragic fate of those women is honored in a certain way with the feast of Les Verges, very popular throughout the island thanks, above all, to the sweets that accompany it. The ancient tradition wore the boys on the eve to sing serenades to his suitors (Nit de les Verges), at the foot of your windows or balconies. They could simply thank the gesture by turning on a light or entertaining the lover with sweets and muscatel-type wine.

This ritual, let’s say outdated, no longer has much follow-up but it is maintained the fervor for donuts. The typical custom of giving them especially to girls and young people in the family is also maintained, although, in reality, any sweet tooth enjoys them. bunyols homemade or bought in any local store.

Bunyols

While pastry shops also prepare the best known wind or stuffed with truffle, cream and cream, the most purely traditional these days are those of you verges or by forat, with hole, like a donut or rather a donut, since the dough is prepared with baker’s yeast.

They thus belong to that large group of fried or pan-fried sweets that we like to prepare and share so much on the indicated festivities, which is why they are equally popular in All Saints, Lent or Holy Week. The recipe may vary according to each family or each bakery, although the ingredients are basically the same: flour, cooked potato and / or sweet potato, sugar, baker’s yeast, eggs, sugar and oil.

Bunyols

The secret of a good donut, say expert voices, is to achieve a dough that preserves the characteristic hole and a fine frying that leave the sweet golden brown, but without absorbing too much oil, or they are too heavy. They can be taken with sugar or honey, or simply dipped in a glass of sweet wine or chocolate.

Photos | iStock – Wikimedia Commons
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