Sunday, 10 May 2015

Alfajores with Dulche De Leche - Biscuits with a Difference (Digital Pressure Cooker Recipe)

Alfajores are meltingly tender little cornflour based biscuit / cookies, typically filled with Dulce de leche. They look robust, but are actually very very delicate and need handling with care.

Take a bite and you will find that from the instant your teeth touch the surface, they practically disappear like a puff of smoke. If you like Viennese fingers / whirls, then you will adore these. Alfajores are far lighter still and a cut above the rest. Given they are filled with Dulche de leche, you would think they would be ultra sweet, but surprisingly not so.

Makes 20 cookies

85g caster sugar
200g salted butter
140g plain flour
210g cornflour
1.1/2 tsp baking powder
1 can of dulce de leche (or condensed milk - to be cooked)
small amount of Malibu or water
dessicated coconut (about 3 > 4 tbsp)

First of all, if you do not have any dulce de leche - we need to make this. Typically, I make 3 or 4 cans at a time as although this method does not involve boiling on the stove for many hours - the cans need to sit for a while before use. Once cooked, the unopened tins will quite happily store in your store cupboard for several months (check expiry date before removing labels).

Ideally, it's something to do on an evening shortly before bed.

Put either a pad of foil (length folded 3 or 4 times) or a tea towel inside your pressure cooker pot and place the cans on top. I can cook up to 4 cans at a time in my 6ltr electric pressure cooker. I forgot to take the labels off last time. I figured it wouldn't be a problem, but the extra gluey residue on the inside of the pot was a pain to clean afterwards - so I recommend removing labels !

Put enough water in the pressure cooker to cover the cans about 1" over the top. Seal the lid and set pressure to 20 > 25 mins depending on how deep a caramelisation you would like. When cooking time is up, switch the oven off at the wall (or pull the plug out) and just leave your electric pressure cooker, unopened until morning. 

These tins were cooked at pressure for 25 mins.

For the biscuits :

Cream butter and sugar together. Sift in flour, cornflour and baking powder, then mix in with a wooden spoon. It needs to come together as a dough, so you will need to add some liquid. I used Malibu (coconut rum) though you could use water. Don't add too much - just enough to bring it together. I needed about 3 tablespoons, but amount may vary depending on your flour.

Wrap and chill dough in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Roll out to around 4 or 5mm thickness. If you use 50mm diameter cutters, you should get enough to make 20 > 22 sandwich cookies.

Bake in a fan oven at 160deg C for 8 minutes, then allow to totally cool before filling.

Take care when filling. Put the dulce de leche in a disposable piping bag (or sandwich bag with a corner cut off) and pipe on to the base of one cookie right to the edge. Place a second cookie on top and give a little wiggle. Do NOT press down or they'll basically fall apart.

Once filled, sprinkle a little dessicated coconut on the edges of the dulce de leche.

These little cookies really need eaten the same day they are filled. If you have more than you need, the dough will happily keep wrapped in the fridge for a week or two uncooked. If you cook all the cookies at once, store unfilled in an airtight box and put any opened dulce de leche in the fridge so you can fill when required.

Sarah-Jane Nash - May 2015

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