Dulce de Leche Cakes

Dule de Leche is now world famous. Everyone knows the story, the gauchos would be out moving cattle and wanted something sweet to have. So they would boil a tin of condensed milk, wait until it had cooled and then devour the sugar sweet milky caramel.

When it came to think of a dessert to have with our Argentine meal I wanted to create something which represented what the gauchos had. Often they were out in the wilderness but more often than not they returned to rich farms where dairy products were in abundance hence the use of the cheeses.

These little cakes are soft, creamy and slightly cheesey. The dulce de leche in the centre makes a pleasant surprise. Best of all they are quite quick and easy to make.

Ingredients – makes 6 cakes
2 eggs
50g caster sugar
125g ricotta
125g mascarpone
75g Doves Farm Plain Flour
¼ tin of Dulce de Leche

1. Place the eggs, caster sugar, ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, and flour in a bowl and mix together.
2. Line a 6 hole metal muffin tin with individual sheets of grease proof paper. Make sure each sheet is slightly bigger than the hole.
3. Put approximately one tablespoon of mixture into each hole. Try and flatten it slightly.
4. Place ¼ teaspoon of dulce de leche on top of each cake, in the middle.
5. Now place another tablespoon of mixture on top of the dolce de leche

6. Flatten the mix slightly, push down any spikes with a clean, wet finger.
7. Place the muffin tin into a larger oven proof dish and fill the larger dish with water so that it comes up halfway to the muffin tin.
8. Place this in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes until the cakes are slightly puffed and risen.

9. Remove the cakes with their paper on and leave to cool on a wire rack until cool
10. Remove the paper and place a tablespoon of dolce de leche on each cake

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Chimichurri Sauce and Farina

When we normally think of Argentina we tend to think about the people dancing the Tango, wearing red and black and perhaps holding a rose between their teeth. When I think about the rooms where these Tango scenes are played out they are always filmed in dinning rooms laden with food. However searching in to Argentina’s food, away from the posh lifestyle of the Argentine elite is the world of the gaucho, the Cowboy. The cowboy has a special place in Argentina’s culinary history after all they are the ones who worked on the land and provided the food.

A lot of Gaucho food is based on the concept of grilled meat with traditional sides. The gem, however, seems to be the Chimichurri sauce served alongside. Legend has it that a Scotsman was trying to say, “give me curry” (che me curry), some say it was British prisoners asking their Spanish jailers for a condiment to have on the side of their meal “Che mi salsa” which later became corrupted.

I have to say that while making this sauce, my mother was in the kitchen with me and looked rather unimpressed with the list of ingredients. On a couple of occasions she did suggest that we add some more things but I refused! The end result is garlic-y and rather like the green Beurre de Paris sometimes served with steak in France.

Farina, Socca, Basin bread are all pretty much the same: chickpea flour mixed with water, left to stand and then shallow fried in a frying pan or dry fried on a griddle

Our meal consisted of grilled lamb, grilled chicken, sautéed baked potatoes, a plain salad, chimichurri sauce and a slice of farina.

Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients

1 bunch Fresh Coriander
4 cloves of Garlic
2 Spring Onions
Salt
A pinch of Red Chilli Flakes
Olive Oil
Vinegar

Use a food processor to blitz the spring onions and garlic until coarse. Then add in the coriander (leaves and stems), if the mix is unable to move in the processor because it is too dry add a little water. Blitz again with the salt and red chilli flakes. Finally pour enough olive oil while the mixer is moving and a couple of drops of vinegar to allow the olive oil to emulsify.

Farina
.
Ingredients
Chickpea Flour (basin)
Water
1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix the chickpea flour and baking powder with the water until you have a thick batter. Leave to stand for approximately 10 -20 minutes. Spray spray-oil on to a non stick frying pan and pour on the batter. Check to see if the underside has cooked, then flip over and cook the other side. Repeat the process.