Alfajores: The King of Cookies08.03.13
I still remember the first time I tried a Havanna Alfajor. I was a newly minted college graduate who moved down to Miami to be closer to home. In this sunny strip of paradise, I landed my first job as a fund trader at a Spanish bank. I worked with a ton of private bankers from all over South America and Spain, a group of movers and shakers with monogrammed shirts continuously nostalgic about the worlds they had left behind.
Those who were lucky enough to fly home for work always returned with a box of Havanna Alfajores stocked with gold and silver pucks of dulce de leche treasures. The golden wrappers indicated a dark chocolate covered Alfajor, while the silver wrapper meant a cookie dressed in a thin veil of white chocolate. I loved the golden wrappers and the dense and crumbly cookies they protected, which had been dipped in milk chocolate and filled with a tangy dulce de leche. They were the most beautiful way to sweeten an afternoon cup of tea. For me and all my friends who worked with me, they meant sustained sugar-fueled giddiness for hours. more »
Latin Thanksgiving Dessert11.22.09
If you’re looking to serve something special this Thanksgiving, try your hand at the “Cuatro Leches” dessert. It’s a lovely interpretation of the classic “Tres Leches” treat renowned throughout South America. In this version, the fourth milk comes from “dulce de leche”, a milk caramel spread popular in Argentina (I buy mine at Eli’s Vinegar Factory, but think you can also find it at Zabar’s or other gourmet food shops). I’ve made this recipe over and over again and always get rave reviews. I plan to make it in a few days for the holiday. Try it out too!
Pastel de Cuatro Leches
2 tsp. butter
1 tbsp. plus 2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
6 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 1⁄4 cups sugar
1 1⁄2 cup whole milk
1 1⁄2 tbsp. dark rum
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 16-oz. jar dulce de leche (milk caramel)
1. Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ × 13″ baking pan with the butter and dust with 1 tbsp. of the flour. Invert the dish, tap out the excess flour, and set aside.
2. Sift the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. Put the egg whites into a large bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar in a gradual stream and continue beating again to soft peaks. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the reserved flour mixture and 1/2 cup of whole milk in 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the rum and vanilla and beat again briefly until smooth.
3. Pour batter into reserved baking pan and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set the cake aside and let cool slightly for 30 minutes.
4. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and remaining milk in a bowl. Using a knife, poke the cake with holes all over, penetrating to the bottom of the pan. Pour the milk mixture over the warm cake and set aside to let cool completely.
5. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled and liquid is absorbed, at least 4 hours. Spread the dulce de leche across the top of the cake and serve.
This article has been adapted from Saveur magazine’s Issue #108, find the original recipe here