2 febbraio 2010

Alfajores and Dulche de Leche - Argentina

la ricetta in italiano qui

En el cielo las estrellas,
en el campo las espinas,
en el medio de mi pecho
la Republica Argentina!

When I asked my friend Ale what to cook for Joan's stop in Argentina (4th country of her Culinary Tour 2010) she gave me a chance between empanadas and alfajores ... and as I love baking and my kids rather prefer a sweet than something strange/spicy/unknown/mysterious/ my choice was all about alfajores! Ale is a dear friend of mine who was born and now lives in Naples, but her mother is from Argentina and she spent part of her childhood and school-time there. The little poem above is what people from Argentina feel for their country: stars in the sky, thorns in the fields, but in the bottom of my heart Argentina Republic!
She suggested to follow this recipe: alfajores are traditional sweets made of two biscuits (plain or chocolate) joined together with a filling such as dulce de leche, jam or chocolate. You can make the biscuits in advance, store in a air-tightened box and couple in a second time.

alfajores
Los alfajores son mirame y no me toques!
As you can see in the bottom pic on the right,
look but do not touch!
... as they are really delicate and friable ...


White Alfajores

alfajores

Ingredients:

250 g butter
150 g sugar
3 egg yolks
300 g maizena (cornstarch)
200 g flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
grated rind of 1 lemon

alfajores

- In a bowl beat the butter with sugar and lemon peel.
- Add yolks one at a time.
- In another bowl sift starch, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Combine the previous preparation and form a smooth dough. I had to add a little milk, just a little, to have a smooth and workable dough, otherwise it crumbled. Let it rest in the fridge one hour.
- Roll it out to ½ inch thick dusting the work surface with cornstarch and cut into disks of about 8 cm. diameter.
- Bake in oven at 160/170 ° until golden about 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, spread cookies with a generous amount of dulce de leche and combine one another.
- Let them roll in shredded coconut or melted chocolate.


Chocolate Alfajores

alfajores cioko

Ingredients:

300 g flour
60 g dark chocolate finely chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
150 g melted butter
100 g icing sugar
3 egg yolks

alfajores cioko

- Mix the flour with the chocolate, baking soda and sugar.
- Incorporate egg yolks, one at a time, and melted butter. Form a smooth dough and let it rest one hour in the fridge. I had to add a little milk, just a little, to have a smooth and workable dough, otherwise it crumbled.
- Roll it out to 3 mm thick and cut into disks of about 8 cm.di diameter.
- Bake in oven at 160/170 ° paper about 10/12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, spread cookies with a generous amount of dulce de leche and combine one another.
- Let them roll in shredded coconut or melted chocolate.

The best alfajores you can buy at Havanna.


Dulche de leche (mou cream)

dulche de leche

Dulche de leche is a very sweet milk-based sauce tasting like caramel.
It's made with milk, sugar and a pinch of baking soda (vanilla flavor is optional), cooking slowly and for long, stirring constantly until water evaporates, sugar caramelizes and the mixture thickens: easy to write but more difficult to try!
Luckily we can make it easier and faster: just put a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure-cooker (better on the vegetable basket), unopened of course and without label, cover with water (at least an inch over the can) and cook 30 to 45 minutes from the wistle (2/3 hours in a normal saucepan, making sure water is always covering the can). Let cool the can in the water. That's it! Pour in a glass jar and store in the fridge ... but I bet it won't last long!
If you have a Thermomix you can follow this recipe: in the bowl 1 liter fresh milk double cream, 300 g sugar, half tsp baking soda - 45 min. Varoma speed 5, then mix 30 sec. speed 5. Pour in jar and store in the fridge.
If you would like to give your dulche de leche to friends as a present and want to be sure about sterilization and storage, better if you pour condensed milk in glass jars first, close well with lids, and then follow the same method for cooking: pay only attention to put some old kitchen towels between the jars or they could crackle while boiling (same method as for home-made canned tomatoes).



See you next time in Carioca Brazil!
It's Carnival time in Rio!

4 commenti:

Joan Nova ha detto...

mmm...delizioso! I'm sure your family was very happy with this post. The photos are great. Hard to choose which one to put in the round-up on Weds. P.S. I love your little Carnival in Brazil symbol.

Cindystar ha detto...

Joan, they were more than happy, they all said: EXCELLENT!
It's Carnival time in Italy as well, I would like to go to Venice where Carnival is superbly celebrated, just walking along narrow roads, lanes and canals you can see beautiful Carnival masks and magnificent old-fashioned dresses, for many it's just the pleasure to dress up and pretend to be back in XVIII century, Casanova time, again!

Robin Sue ha detto...

Cindystar it was fun joining you in Joan's roundup again. What a beautiful cookie! I will have to try these sometime as I think my family would really adore them!

Cindystar ha detto...

Thank you, Robin, I am sure they will love them!

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