Breakfast isn’t a big meal in Spain, for the most part, and so not that many places are open early in the morning. Fortunately, in Granada, the Pasteleria Lopez-Mezquita opens bright and early at about 9am for those who want to get a quick bite to eat before going to work or heading up to the Alhambra for some sightseeing. The Pasteleria has a cafe with counter service and a bakery that is packed with pastries.
I had a few recommendations to go on, but unfortunately, none of the pastries were labeled, so I had some difficulty ordering with my limited spanish. The men working at the shop were very patient and soon I had a nicely wrapped package of pastries that I took to go with me.
My favorite was the pastela moruna, a thin double-layer pie-like pastry that is stuffed with chicken. This is a Moorish dish, so it uses lots of cinnamon. The topping is actually a mixture of cinnamon sugar, so although you might think of chicken dishes as purely savory, this dish was actually very sweet. The shredded chicken was tender and flavorful, and that sugar seemed to make it irresistible, much like adding salt to caramels to create a different sweet-savory contrast.
I also picked up a couple of empanadas, some with cheese and some with ham and cheese. The pastries on these were thick and flaky, but were fairly dense. By this, I mean that the pastry was a little more like pie crust than, for instance, a croissant. They stood up well to the filling, especially the ham and cheese.
As much as I enjoyed the more savory pastries, I had to save room for something sweet. Although most of the patrons of the bakery early in the morning seemed to be picking up food for lunch or snacks (wrapped up, to-go orders), I saw several people come in and order a slice of this apple custard tart to eat right away. That seemed like a good recommendation to me and – again, no idea what this was called – of course I got one, too. The apples were cooked with a bit of cinnamon and were very tender, while the custard was thick and creamy with a very mild flavor. It wasn’t too sweet and I really liked how it held together while I ate. If anyone knows what this is called, leave a comment, because it is one dish I definitely wouldn’t mind giving a try at home!
Calle Reyes Católicos 39