Galician Recipes – la Tarta de Santiago

This is the recipe to make your own Tarta de Santiago at home.

The Tarta de Santiago or Saint James Cake is a typical Galician almond cake or pie with origins in the Middle Ages and can be found in every pastry shop in Santiago de Compostela and along the Camino de Santiago. It is however originally a Jewish Passover cake, containing no flour, therefore gluten-free and great for giving energy to pilgrims during the Camino.

The most typical dessert from Santiago de Compostela - la Tarta de Santiago

The filling principally consists of ground almonds, eggs, and sugar, with additional flavouring of lemon zest, sweet wine, brandy, or grape marc, depending on the recipe used. It is a round shape and can be made with or without a base which can be either puff pastry or shortcrust pastry. The top of the pie is decorated with powdered sugar, masked by an imprint of the Cross of Saint James(cruz de Santiago) which gives the pastry its name.

Preparation time: 20min

Baking time: 40min


  • 250g (1 3/4 cups) ground almonds
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 250g (1 ¼ cups) sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • 4 drops almond extract
  • Spanish brandy, to taste
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/315F/Gas 2 ½. Grease with butter an 8in tart shell, preferably nonstick, and dust it with flour or line with greaseproof paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Add the ground almonds, zests and flower water and mix gently to combine.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture carefully until the whites are combined into the other ingredients.
  4. Pour in the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch and pale golden brown.
  5. Let the tarta cool before dusting the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Or, if you like, cut a St. James cross out of paper. Place it in the center of the cake, and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, then remove the paper.
  6. As you serve the cake, slosh a bit of brandy over it. You could finish with some cream.


Click here to download the a pdf of  St. James cross to print out, cut out and place in the center of the cake to form the traditional design

Published by

Ultreya Tours

Ultreya Tours is a incoming Tour Operator specialized in organizing comprehensive and highly personalized walking tours for groups and solo travelers on the Camino de Santiago. Founded and based in Santiago de Compostela, we know the region of Galicia and the secrets of the Camino by heart. Let us introduce you to our vision of the Camino.