Category Archives: Treats: Because life is meant to be sweet

Argentine Easter cake: Rosca de Pascua

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Easter is almost around the corner, soon it will be upon us, as usual, faster than expected. If you are feeling like baking something special this year, you might be on the right place (or blog).

This is a recipe for a traditional Easter cake eaten in Argentina during this season. I’m calling it a “cake” but it is more like a sweet, soft bread, made with enriched dough. It has an outer layer of creme pattisiere and glase cherries, which makes it quite the showstopper.

Traditionally, it had an un-peeled boiled egg as part of the decoration, but it was later replaced by a chocolate egg.

Rosca de Pascua  is in Argentina what hot cross buns are in England and Ireland: a staple of the Easter table.

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These days most people just buy it from the bakery, but if you are lucky enough, you might have a grandma that likes baking and then it will befall on her to make one for Easter Sunday.

If you’ll like something different this Easter you might want to give this recipe a try. The resulting cake is delicious with coffee or tea.

It takes a bit of time, but it will be worth your while.

The following ingredients make two 1/2 Kg Roscas or 1 big, 1 kilo Rosca.

Ingredients:

600 grs of strong flour

7 grs of instant yeast

100 grs of butter at room temperature

150 grs sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

130 ml lukewarm milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

Zest from 1 orange

Vanilla essence, optional.

To decorate: crème patissiere,  glasse cherries and chouquette sugar.

To make the creme patissiere:

2 egg yolks

20 g corn starch

250 ml milk

60 g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 

How to:

1.- In a bowl mix the tablespoon of honey, the yeast and the lukewarm milk and let it rest until the yeast froths.

2.- Meanwhile mix the flour and the salt in a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, the sugar, the orange blossom essence, the vanilla essence and the orange zest.

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3.- Once the yeast has froth, add it to the centre of the well, and with one hand start to mix all the ingredients inside your well until they are fully integrated. Then, carefully, start adding flour from the sides of the well so that the mixture starts to thicken. At this point you can help yourself with a scraper. Keep adding flour until you have a dough.

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4.- Once you have incorporated all the flour and your dough is workable you will add the butter. It should be at room temperature and therefore pliable. Just add half the butter to the dough and knead until you can’t see any trace of it on the dough, then add the rest of the butter and knead. You will notice that your dough gets very sticky but don’t add any more flour because that will result in a hard, dense and dry rosca (yes, all because of just a little more flour).

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5.- After 10 minutes of working it you’ll have a soft, pliable dough, so just have faith and keep kneading. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

6.- After 15 minutes, dip one of your fingers in flour and use it to make a hole in the centre of the dough. Then use your hand to shape it until the hole is as big as the bottom of a glass.

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6.- Place the shaped roscas in a baking tray and in the centre of each rosca place a buttered and floured glass jar or glass so that it will keep its shape during baking. Let them rise until double in size. Because of the sugar and butter in the dough it might take up to 2 hours.

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In the meantime you can prepare the crème patissiere:

  1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until pale and slightly thickened.
  2. Whisk in the flours.
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan until stating to boil.
  4. Whisk the milk into the egg mix whisking vigorously, otherwise you’ll cook the eggs and get scrambled eggs!!
  5. Put the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time until thick and boiling.
  6. Take the pan off the heat – cover with cling-film to prevent a skin from forming.

If you are new to making crème pat, here is a video that might help you. The quantities are different, just ignore, we are making a lot less crème pat!

http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/how-to-cook/how-to-make-a-creme-patisserie.

7.- After 2 hours paint with egg and place in a preheated oven at 190 C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from the oven and decorate with the crème patissiere, the cherries and the chouquette sugar. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. They come out of the oven looking like this:

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8.- To give it the bakery finish you have to brush them with a syrup made out of equal parts of water and sugar, simply boil them together until the mixture thickens a bit, let it cool before you brush the roscas with it. That gives them the glossy finish the Rosca de Pascua traditionally has.

DSC051939.- Let them cool down and enjoy!!!

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Happy Baking! Paula

Argentinean sweet fried cakes

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Still fighting the Sunday blues on a Tuesday? Try this Argentine remedy for rainy days and Sundays that seem to go on forever…

“Tortafritas” are the Argentinean treat of choice for rainy days. They go great with mate and their warm sweetness keeps the blues away.

During a rainy weekend someone in my family was always bound to go…. “Shall we make tortafritas?” Because you make them, you don’t buy them (thankfully they are easy to make). If you are lucky, like I was, your Grandma will make them for you.

They are sweet, completely soft on the inside, and with crunchy sugar on the outside; eat them as soon as you finish making them, so they are warm and sweet, and you’ll never EVER forget this recipe.

They are super easy to make and they cook fast, their only two drawbacks ( I may as well mention them) are that a) you will never call them “healthy” or “low-cal”, so just don’t make 100 and b) they are fried and in a city as humid as London, the smell of frying tends to linger. As long as you are aware and you don’t care, go ahead, they are really worth it 🙂

Ingredients ( makes 8 big ones, like the ones in the photo or 16 smaller ones):

125 g plain flour

125 g raising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and a half spoonfuls of melted lard.

150 ml tepid water

1 cup of sugar (to coat/sprinkle on top. Beware: not icing sugar!)

Oil, to cook them in.

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the two types of flour and the salt and mix together. Make a well in the middle.

2.-  Add the water and melted lard to the well and mix with your hands. You will have a sticky dough at first, but knead it a bit and it will soon stop sticking to the bowl.

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3.- Once you have a dough that is not too sticky, form a roll and divide it into 8 portions. Then shape each of the portions into a ball. They will be the size of a golf ball. The tortafritas will plump and spread a bit during cooking, so if you’d rather have tortafritas the size of cookies, make two balls out of each portion of dough.

Let the little dough balls rest for 20 minutes covered with a clean tea towel or cling film.

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4.- Place a pan in the fire with oil, while it heats up, let’s finish shaping the tortafritas. Take one ball at a time, and flatten it with a rolling-pin till they are 2-3 mm thick, then, using a knife, make two incisions in each piece.

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5.-  To test the oil, place a small bit of dough in it, if it starts bubbling and sizzling away, then the oil is ready to be used, otherwise you’ll need to wait for a few minutes or bring the heat up. Once the oil is ready, place one or two tortafritas at a time. Cook on one side and then turn to even the colour.

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6.- As you take the tortafritas out of the oil, place them for a few seconds on some kitchen roll to absorb excess of oil and then place them in the sugar on both sides till they are covered in it.

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To add some different flavours to the mix:

Add cinnamon to the sugar and get cinnamon tortafritas

Add orange zest to the sugar and get citrucy flavoured tortafritas

Add some vanilla essence to the mix to get vanilla tortafritas.

Eat warm and be happy!!

Namaste and Bon Appétit!

Paula