Yes, I am introducing empanadas again, these are dumplings or turnovers popular in all of Latin America. Today I am going to introduce you to the ones famous in Mendoza, Argentina. These are traditionally filled with beef, olives, and hard-boiled eggs. They are similar to the empanadas from Uruguay. Uruguayan empanadas are also filled with beef and also contain hard-boiled eggs. However, there are slight differences such as no olives and the meat being prepared with tomatoes. You will also realize that the dough has one different ingredient, instead of water this dough is prepared with warm milk, making it extra easy to work with. If you want to check out further empanada recipes, check out this blog post.
Today is national Donut Day or Doughnut Day and I am going to celebrate it with donuts from Argentina or Uruguay. They are called bolas de fraile or berlinesas. In Germany donuts are called Berliner, Berliner Pfannkuchen, Kreppl, or Krapfen as this probably already explains where “berlinesas” are from. Apparently, German immigrants took this delicious donut to Argentina. However, one main difference is the filling. Whereas German Berliner are filled with strawberry jam or jelly traditionally, Argentinians will rely on their beloved dulce de leche, which is a caramel made from sweetened milk. A small difference is also how these are dusted with sugar, in Germany you will traditionall dust only the top part with icing sugar whereas in Argentinia regular sugar is used to roll the entire ball in it. Be it as it may, I hope you will enjoy these sweet little yeast treats, which are fried, filled with dulce de leche and rolled in sugar. Regardless of whether Germans brought them or not (another name is bolas de fraile, which literally translates as “balls from Monchs”), these little donuts will for sure sweeten your day.
It is World Bread Day again and this time I brought you some sweet pastry from Argentina, facturas argentinas! Facturas argentinas can be described as the typical sweet pastry you may have for breakfast or as a snack. All bakeries offer an abudance of different options, they are typically either filled with quince paste (dulce de membrillo), the caramel dulce de leche, or a custard cream. They come in different shapes and sizes, but what they all have in common is the same dough, rough puff pastry. Actually, it seems to be impossible to find the proper English translation. In German we say “Plunderteig”, which means it is a yeast dough, which usually has butter layers in between. The rough part in this version, however, comes from the fact that the butter is not worked into the dough as a single layer, but instead mixed into the yeast dough directly and later layered. It probably is described best as rough plunder.
Did you watch the Latin American Streetfood Show on Netflix? If you did, you most likely remember choripán, the Argentinian or Uruguayan version of a hot dog. When I watched the show, I remembered eating this hot dog in Buenos Aires lastly in 2016 and I was determined to make a version that also works in Germany. So I first had to find the chorizo sausage. I thought that was going to difficult, but then, surprisingly I found a small version in our regular grocery store. These were the Spanish ones, but I have to say, they taste very similar to the ones I remember from Buenos Aires. So yay to that. Next I wanted to make my own hot dog buns. I knew that they would be so much better. So I set out and tried different recipes. I was surprised when I realized that hot dog buns are much easier to prepare than I originally thought. You basically throw all ingredients together and then have to wait until you form the buns. Really not that hard. So here you go, you got homemade hot dog buns filled with a chorizo sausage (or in my case two as they were so small), the herb sauce called chimichurri (also homemade), and if you want, some red onion slices. Voilá, you have your Latin American version of a hot dog: choripán!
Friends, it is time for a recipe from my birth country again: Alfajores from Uruguay! Alfajores are a very popular cookie in Uruguay and Argentina, consisting of a shortbread-type of sandwich cookie, creamy and delicious dulce de leche as filling, which in the end is covered in coconut flakes. If you want a slightly different cookie and feel like impressing your friends and family, look no further, alfajores are for you!
What are the features of this cookie? Well, the base is a shortbread cookie, or let’s say, the Latin American version of shortbread. Because it contains a lot of cornstarch. You know, because corn and Latin America? One of the main ingredient found on this continent? In comparison to a regular shortbread cookie, the cornstarch makes the cookie softer, it has this melt-in-your-mouth kind of characteristic. I flavored it with some real vanilla.
OK, yes, I am watching the world championship of soccer. That’s because my birth country Uruguay made it to the quarter finals, beating the former winner of the European cup Portugal, yay! For that reason I felt like making alfajores, these are the best cookies from Uruguay. Originally alfajores are from Spain. Don’t ask me how they are made in Spain. All I know is that the Uruguayan version is always a sandwich cookie, similar to sugar cookies. These cookies, however, are a little bit drier and crumblier. That’s because they are filled with dulce de leche, caramel made from sweetened milk. The dry cookie balances out the sweet dulce de leche nicely. Since I am a chocoholic, I had to go with the chocolate version, which means that the sandwich cookies are dunked in chocolate. How can this not be good?Alfajores can be found everywhere in Uruguay and Argentina. You will find them in school lunchboxes as well as a sought-after souvenir in airports. What I like about my version is that you can easily keep them for weeks as the chocolate serves as a protective layer. However, I do hope that your cookies will not last as long. At least mine were gone within minutes when I made them.