domenica 5 febbraio 2012

Dont' Cry for me Argentina, for I have "Panqueques con Dulce de leche"

Now, the shot is simply awful, plus blogspot decided to flip the picture without asking. And I am afraid I can't be positive on the look of the dish either.
But Lord how good this is!
The dulce de leche I made yesterday found its way where it belongs: panqueques.
I made a slight change to one of the several recipes I studied before making this genuinely Argentinian "postre" (dessert). The result is a super easy crepe-like pancake: an elastic and tender hot cake that will be very resistant to the dulce de leche spreading.
BE CAREFUL: This procedure will reveal your true self: the thin-layered, measured kind or the thick, outrageously measureless one. No neeed to guess where I stand.

2 eggs
250 ml milk (full fat or low fat)
100 grams all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
a teaspoon baking powder
10 grams unsalted butter

- mix the eggs and milk with a wisk. Add salt and, using a sift, add the flour. Once the mix is well blended, add the baking powder.
- use the butter to grease a non stick pan: I made two different sizes, deciding that the smaller panqueque (obtained with a 12cm pan) is the best option, being easier to flip and easier to roll. Not to mention the fact that, being smaller, you are allowed to have more without feeling (too) guilty.
- ladle a spoonful of batter in the buttered pan and wait until you see the sides of the panqueque change color (3minutes at least): they will no longer be pearly-white but will turn into a solid yellowish nuance. Carefully lift the side and check that the panqueque is slightly browned before flipping, then turn it upside down and cook for half the time it took to make the first side.
- you can choose to pile all the pancakes before stuffing them or stuff them as soon as you remove them from the pan: the latter I like best so I can take advantage of the heat to spread the dulce de leche more easily.
- spread the cream on one side of the pancake ( remember: melius abundare quam deficere ) then gently roll it up so it resembles a big cigar: do it until all the panqueques are used up, then lay the "cigars" in an oven-proof dish leaving no space between them.
- use some of the remaining butter to spread onto the panqueques and leave in the over at 90C° all through the meal. This will keep the dish warm until it's time to serve. Otherwise, you can choose to make the dessert in advance, stick it in the fridge and heat it at 150C° for 12 minutes (or until you see the dulce the leche gently drip from the panqueques).

The batter should yeld 9-10 panqueques feeding 4 people at the end of a nice meal. If you think you'll need even more decadence, I suggest you double the amounts so you can feed 5 to 8 persons.

ENJOY your piece of Argentina!

sabato 4 febbraio 2012

Dulce de leche

A good day is really good when you find time to indulge in what you like the most, that' s a fact. I have had the fullest of years this past year when I haven't been writing, and I have had the fullest of months this past month, when I have been meditating on writing again.
Cooking has always been my way to real relaxation: stirring, combining, adding flavors in layers makes me feel like an alchemist of taste. Now, today I have done one of the less articulated yet closest to magic recipes I have ever tried: Dulce de leche.
Originally Argentinian, dulce the leche first appears in my memory as the favorite dessert of a child travelling Patagonia with his super poor family: PATAGONIA TERRA AMICA, was the summer reading of my third year in middle school, and the dulce de leche was, in the eyes of the writer and mine, the final destination of a trip to salvation. When I first met Leandro, my friend from - guess where - Argentina, he introduced me to the actual taste of this magic food, obtained by boiling condensed milk directly in its sealed can for several hours. The result is a lucious creamy delight tasting like "mou" (or butterscotch). You can do practically everything with it, though its classical combination is with panqueques, a cross between pancakes and crepes.

a can of good quality condensed milk, sweetened
water to boil

As simple as it is, Dulce the leche just needs to be put in a pot WITHOUT OPENING THE CAN, covering it with cold water.
After bringing the agua to a boil, let simmer for 2.30 to 3 hours.
Be careful to check from time to time that the can stays covered in water, as - if not - it may explode and leak.
Once the time has passed, remove the can from the pot and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Open the can and let your eyes be amazed by this golden brown caramel-like sauce. It will still be very warm, so don't be tempted to stick a spoonful in your mouth straight from the can or you will be thoroughly punished by your own greediness.

Use on icecream, chocolate cake and, of course, in panqueques (recipe on its way).
Patagonia here I come!