Today I am going to introduce a speciality from Argentina: torta Balcarce or postre Balcarce. This cake consists of sponge cake layers, the caramel cream called dulce de leche, chopped marrons/sweet chestnuts (often replaced with walnuts), meringue, and whipping cream. The cake originated in the town Balcarce (hence the name). It was created by the pastry chef Guillermo Talou in 1950 and quickly became famous throughout the country. To the present day the town Balcarce celebrates a festival. One event is to actually assemble a gigantic cake and eat it. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to eat this cake when I went on holiday in Argentina in 2018. However, I figured, why not try making it at home in Germany? I decided to make this cake for my seventh blog anniversary, today exactly seven years ago my first blog post went online, so I wanted to celebrate with you with this delicious cake.
I am going to introduce torta rogel from Uruguay today. Why do you find many recipes from Uruguay on this blog? Because I was born in this beautiful country in Latin America. Even though I have a German passport, I lived in Uruguay for several years as a child. We happened to live in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Back in the 80s you would occasionally find some horse carriages between the cars and we lived on one of the main streets. My sister and me often paid a visit to the nearby kiosk, we would either get “chicle”, which is chewing gum, or we got breakfast: bread and dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is the peanut butter of Latin America, the caramel made from sweetened milk is used as much in Latin American cuisine as is peanut butter in the U.S. I will never forget how my dad instructed my sister and me to get breakfast: “Go and get bread and dulce de leche from the vaca cow (vaca= Spanish for cow).” We may have spoken German among each other, but a Spanish word would slip in here and there. Sometimes funky creations such as saying the same word in two language would come out of it. But anyway, I love dulce de leche, so I wanted to show you this delicious cake, which contains a lot of it. In this reel you can see how I make it and how it looks.
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.
Chocotorta is a cake from Argentina that is typically served on birthdays. Usually it does not require for you to turn on the oven as it basically contains store-bought cookies (called “chocolinas” in Argentina), the caramel cream dulce de leche, and cream cheese. If you have these ingredients at hand, you can already prepare a simple chocotorta. I included a chocolate ganache on top of this, but that is optional. However, my recipe below also includes making the cookies from scratch and for that reason we are going to turn on the oven after all.
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? Officially these are called alfajores marplatenses, mar de plata is in the very East of Argentina.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.