I suppose this is the first stop on the super bodega express. I had thought about making this series well-planned and carefully organized. It’s not going to be that way. It’s going to be how I actually travel – vague and meandering. Wandering. The exciting thing about food, for me, is that one thing leads to another – one flavor makes you think of another, and combining them sends you off in different directions entirely!
I bought some guava paste at the Super Tropical Food Market. I’m very taken with it! I’ll tell you why. I’d read that when the Portuguese had trouble finding quince in Brazil, with which to make their membrillo, they fixed upon guava instead, as an acceptable substitute. I love quince paste! And I’m fascinated by the way foods changed as people moved throughout the world, according to the ingredients available and their needs at the time. That’s partly why I’m so intrigued by savory pastries, after all. And guava paste is lovely. It’s glowing and rosy and pretty, and I can think of a million ways to cook with it!
Let’s start with these cookies! First of all, they’re not officially alfajores, they’re just my odd version of them. It all started when we watched a beautiful Uraguayan movie called Gigante. It made me curious about Uruguayan food, of course! And I read about a pastry that combines quince, dulce de leche and chocolate. Which sounds perfect, doesn’t it? And then I read about this cookies – alfajores, which are thin shortbread discs, connected with dulce de leche and enrobed in white or dark chocolate. Well! I had to make some! The description reminded me of the empire biscuits that my scottish mother-in-law makes, so I adapted her recipe for the cookie part – adding a bit of cinnamon and vanilla, because I thought they’d be nice with the guava paste and the dulce de leche. And then when I found the guava paste at the good old super tropical, I knew that would be in there as well. I made them tiny, because they really do combine a lot of very sweet flavors, if you think about it! They’re almost like little candies. And they taste wonderful! Everything combines to some mysterious taste that’s much bigger than the sum of its parts.
dulce de leche
I made the dulce de leche myself. (And very proud of myself I am, too!) I’ve always loved dulce de leche…it seems to combine elegance with the childish pleasures of warm milk and sticky caramel. I’ll include the recipe for that after the jump.
Here’s Carita de Alfajor by Fidel. I like the song a lot, but I don’t know what he’s saying. I should learn some languages!