A Barcelona food blog
Like my dad I’m rather partial to a biscuit, especially with a steaming cup of tea or a freshly brewed coffee. I can hear him now, saying in his broad Huddersfield accent “this brew’s a bit wet Claire” which indicates the biscuit tin needs to come out and soak up the liquid with his mug.
Alfajores are a biscuit I think my dad might approve of. I’d never come across them until coming to Barcelona, they originate in Argentina and considering the high concentration of their countrymen in the city it’s no surprise they pop up everywhere here.
They have similarites with shortcake, two discs sandwiched together with that Argentinian staple dulce de leche, a thick caramel from a sweetened vanilla milk boiled down until concentrated. An easier way than standing over a pan of milk and constantly stirring for nearly an hour is to use condensed milk and the method described by fellow London based food blogger Milly here. The edges of the sandwich are then usually dusted with desiccated coconut.
The quality of alfajores varies, I’ve had some where the biscuit has been heavy like shortbread and paired with the extremely sweet filling were a step too far even for my sweet tooth. Others have a coating of white icing on top, again unnecessary extra sugar in my opinion. My current favourites are the ones pictured from the charming little cafe Rekons (more about that another time). Crumbly, slightly pillowy biscuit that’s not overly cloying like some and lets the chestnut coloured dulce de leche play that role. Just remember to dust the crumbs off when you’ve enjoyed it in the street like I did.
If you fancy making your own here is a recipe (thus far untested I must add) taken from a book given to me as a gift from friends returning from a trip to Buenos Aires, called simply ‘Argentine Cooking’ by Mónica Hoss de la Comte.
600g plain flour
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
120g fat (butter or lard)
1 x can of cheat’s dulce de leche
The recipe suggests a cold water icing but I’m going to omit it so you can have them the Rekons way.
Put the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Then put the yolks, salt, water and melted fat in the centre. Knead well for some minutes and allow the mixture to rest for a while, then knead it again. Roll out, cut the round biscuits and put them in the oven on a greased baking sheet. (The recipe doesn’t give a temperature, I would suggest about 180°c but keep an eye on them). When they are cooked and cool, stick them together with the dulce de leche and sprinkle a dusting of desiccated coconut round the outer edges.
Alfajores Rekons, C/Comte d’Urgell 32 (Comte d’Urgell with Floridablanca), Sant Antoní