Membrillo

(Photo by jlastras)

Those who have taken a liking to the local pastries may have noticed that many come with a filling of Quince Jam (Membrillo). This fruit preserve, which was brought to Argentina by the Spaniards, is very popular in local sweets and deserts, including the aforementioned pastries, quince pies and combined with cheese for the typical “queso y dulce” desert. Allthough it is definitely not as popular as dulce de leche, the crimson sweet tart jam with a grainy texture is the favorite of those who prefer something less sugary and rich. We suggest you try it and if you like it you can take this recipe back home with you as a souvenir.

Quince Jam

Ingredients:

1 kilo/ 2 lbs of Quince

700 gr/  3 ½ cups of sugar

1- Boil the quince with the skin on for ten minutes.

2- Rinse and peel the quince, halve and discard the seeds.

3- Process the quince pulp in a food processor or blender.

4- Place the blended quince in a pot and add ¾ cups of sugar for every cup of quince.

5- Cook on very low heat whilst stirring with a wooden spoon for 30-45 minutes or until the quince pulls away from the pot.

6-  Pour the quince jam into a wet tube pan and cool.

7-  Remove jam from the pan and wrap in foil

8-  Serve a slice of quince jam with a slice of cheese or keep in the refrigerator.

Local Specialties to Indulge your Sweet Tooth.

Grey cold days like the ones we’ve been having lately are great for comforting afternoon snacks in traditional teahouses such as Las Violetas in Almagro or Confiteria La Ideal downtown. Here are some local specialties to sweeten the afternoon.

Dulce de leche: Probably the most famous of Argentine sweets, this caramel cream is used in pastries, spread on toast, eaten by the spoonful and included in all kinds of desserts.

Alfajores:  A typical sandwich like snack made up of two “cookies” usually filled by, you guessed it, dulce de leche, (although there are variety’s filled with fruit jams and chocolate  as well) and covered in chocolate, confectionary, sugar or coconut. More information about alfajores is available here.

Rogel Cake: A very sweet cake made with alternating layers of puff pastry and dulce de leche and topped with meringue.

Pasta Frola Quince pie: Another typical sweet used in pastry’s and deserts is Quince paste (dulce de membrillo) and candied yam jam (dulce de batata), which are often combined with cheese for dessert. Quince paste also the main ingredient of Pasta Frola, a fruity pie that goes well with coffee.

Medialunas and Facturas: The local croissants and pastry’s come in many varieties. There are two types of medialunas (croissants), de grasa (made with lard) or de manteca (made with butter). The first is crunchier and thin, the second puffy and moist. Amongst the pastries you will find varieties with dulce de leche, with quince and yam jam, and with custard (crema pastelera).

Vainillas: These very lightweight  airy “cookies”  made from egg, vanilla and sugar are the favorite of many local children (and adults who wont admit it) who dunk them in milk as an afternoon snack.

Submarino: Another thing Argies like to dunk is a bar of chocolate in a cup of hot milk for a local take on a typical winter comforter.