All travelers to South America must have tasted Alfajores, the « Oreo » of Latin America… They actually come from Peru, since the “dulce de leche” used for the recipe is already mentioned in some 15th century Spanish manuscripts… This “dulce de leche” that lies between the two biscuits is originally produced in a neighbor city of the famous Nazca lines in South Peru: Ica. The recipe is not complicated and the result is pleasing both your eyes and you palate. This is Jeimy, a Peruvian woman living in France for 6 years, who is proposing this recipe from her hometown.
She will very soon propose two other recipes on Globe Taster : Peruvian cheackpea salad (ensalada de Garbanza) and the Tacu-tacu, national dish made out of leftovers.
Fiche d’identité culinaire
Name: Jeimy Arsac
Nationality, origin, and current residence place: Peruvian, from Ica, I currently live in a charming village in southern France, in the Ardèche region.
Sweet or salt? Salt of course! Except for drinks and the unique deserts of my home city…
My favorite dish: “aji de gallina” (chicken in chilli sauce) as main dish, “chicha morada” (sweet drink based on purple maize) and “refresco de maracuya” (passionfruit juice) as drinks.
How did I learn cooking? By watching my mother and grandmother… and I practiced very soon as I was the older sister. I learned to cook for my siblings.
And French cooking? When I arrived in France, I wanted to cook Peruvian food but I couldn’t find the fresh ingredients I was used to… My only option was « cans, cans and cans »… and this is not the Peruvian cooking I like. “In France do as French do”… so I learnt French cooking. And, again it is by watching at my step mother for an entire month that I learnt about the methods and local ingredients.
Flavors of my province, Ica: spicy, salted and very sweet (dulce de leche is from Ica!)
Typical dishes of Ica region:
– The “carapulcra”, dried potato soup with pork or chicken, yellow chili “aji mirasol” and red chili “aji panca”, garlic and other spices
– “Picante de pallares”, spicy dish made of kidney beans, milk, soft white cheese and eggs
– All kinds of desserts made with dulce de leche, which we also call manjar blanco
What to drink during the meal? Pure Pisco (grape based Peruvian alcohol) if you’re a true Peruvian. Otherwise nowadays many people have beer or wine during the meals.
How do we cook at home in Peru? Fresh, always fresh! Every day, we buy the ingredients, we cook them and we eat them immediately. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen but this brings happiness for the entire family!
The favorite Peruvian dish of my husband? « pollo a la brasa », grilled chicken, just like his parents!
Which occasion for Peruvian cooking? All! But only when I am in Peru! In France, I definitely cook French food with local fresh products. I can’t compromise on Peruvian cooking…
Recipe for 30 biscuits, easy, 20+5 minuts preparing, 12 minuts baking
1 tsp raising powder
3 tbsp icing sugar + a little more for decoration
Dulce de leche
Tsp : teaspoon, Tbsp : table spoon
Oven, hob (as large as possible), round pastry cutter (diameter <5cm), large bowl
Recipe step by step
- Combine sifted flour, raising powder and sugar in a large bowl
- Add pieces of butter at room temperature and combine well with a fork, trying to crush the piece of butter into smaller ones
- Continue for a few minutes until butter pieces are very small and of homogeneous size.
- With the hands, gather into a large dough ball. Keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes. You can also keep it for a few days in the fridge to use the rest later.
- Take a handfull of the dough and spread it over a floured flat surface until thickness is approximately 5mm
- Cut a round-shaped piece of dough with the pastry cutter. Unstick it very carefully not to damage the outline.
- Preheat your oven at 220°C, and put the dough shapes onto a non-stick sheet or a floured hob. Bake it for 12 minutes. Alfajores must not glaze.
- Assemble: take out from the oven and let them cool down. Take a biscuit and spread a generous teaspoon of dulce de leche on the lower face (facing the hob). You can also use a piping bag if the dulce de leche is rather liquid. Assemble with the lower face of another biscuit. Now it looks like an Oreo.
- Prepare the plate: arrange the “oreo” biscuits on the plate and sprinkle with icing sugar.
- Maragarine can replace butter. The dough will have a different consistency.
- For more flavor and lighter biscuits, you can have 3 eggs instead of 1 and replace 3/5th of the flour with maizena.
- You can prepare your own dulce de leche but it is difficult to get to the rather thick consistency required for the alfajores.