Tag Archives: Cinnamon

Argentinean sweet fried cakes


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



Hand-held Apple Pies

DSC08295Icy morning in London! I woke up to find my garden covered in frost, as well as the rooftops of every house I could see from my upper windows.

Now the sun is out and the ice has melted. This was the first frost of the season… I think. I haven’t really been paying attention to…the world, I guess. I seem to live inside my book at the moment; when I’m not writing or correcting it, I’m thinking about things to add, quotes to research or books to check.

But I made myself some space this weekend to make these lovely apple pies so we could have them for breakfast on Sunday. Great decision, as it rained the WHOLE DAY, and I can safely say, that the best thing about our Sunday were those little pies.

DSC08293They might taste a bit like the fast-food chain version of apple pie and look like a pop-tart, but they are surprisingly light, amazingly appley, completely dairy-free and extremely scrumptious.

The coconut oil makes for a different sort of pastry, one that tastes a bit as if it’s been fried rather than oven baked…and we know fried things always have a tastier flavour, even if they are not always the healthiest option.

You can also freeze them and then bake straight out of the freezer, so you can make loads and just keep them in the freezer for when you have a party… or a craving 😉 Serve them with ice-cream…or cream…or custard…or icing sugar…or simply as they are.

DSC08300Onto the recipe, but first things first, this pastry needs resting time of at least 1 hour, for optimum results 2 hours, so take that into account.

Ingredients (makes 6 apple pies):

For the pastry:

100g coconut oil

300g plain flour

2 egg yolks

50ml cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:

2 medium Gala apples

2 tablespoons of sultanas

1 fat teaspoon honey

1 & 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

Pinch of nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the flour and the salt. Mix together and then add the coconut oil.

DSC082382.- With your fingers rub the coconut oil into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.

DSC08239Coconut oil isn’t as pliable as butter, so it is harder to rub it into the flour. The little lumps of oil are tougher than their butter equivalents; but be patient, as you see in the photo, it can be done.

I haven’t tried using a blender so I can’t tell you whether that will work as well. You can try it though, and if it works, then making these pies will be a breeze. (By the way, if you do, and it works, let me know, and I’ll add it to the post!)

3.- Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks, vanilla essence and the water. Mix everything by hand until you have a dough that comes off the sides of the bowl. Don’t overwork the dough or it will make a tough pastry. Just mix enough for the wet ingredients to permeate the dry ones and then press everything together to form a ball.

DSC08244You will still be able to see little pockets of coconut oil, I have found it impossible to fully mix the oil with the flour in the couple of times I’ve made this recipe. But don’t worry, the final result is great.

4.- Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour, ideally for 2. While the dough chills, make the filling.

5.- Peel and core the apples. Cut into small squares.

DSC082466.- Place a small pan on a low heat, add the lemon juice, chopped apples, sultanas, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and finally the teaspoon of honey (make it a fat one, as there is no sugar in the pastry, all the sweetness will come from the filling):

DSC082487.- Cook until the apples are beginning to soften (15 mins), and then add the cornstarch and mix until you see the cornstarch disappear and the liquid at the bottom of the pot going thick. Remove from the heat. Using cornstarch will prevent you pies from “leaking” during baking and all the filling will remain in them.

Let the filling cool completely before using.

8.- After 1-2 hours, take the dough out of the fridge. You can then lightly flour a surface  and roll out your dough; or you can spread a rectangle of cling film on your working top, place the dough on it, and then cover loosely with another cling film sheet and roll out the pastry through the cling film; that way, the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling-pin and you avoid using too much flour, which will also make your pastry tough. Roll out, preferably in the shape of a rectangle and not in the shape of an amoeba like I did, to a 3mm thickness.

DSC082569.- Cut rectangles of your preferred length; I cut mine  of 12 cm x 6 cm, but I think next time I’ll make them slightly smaller (10cm X 4cm).

DSC0825810.- Take two rectangles; spread 1 -2 teaspoons of the filling into one of the rectangles (depending how big your rectangles are), then paint around the edges with a bit of water or egg white so that the top of the pie will stick to the bottom. Take the second rectangle,  prick it with a fork and place on top of the filling.

DSC0826011.- Use a fork to press the edges together and seal the tarts….

DSC0826312.- Place in the fridge for 30 mins and then bake or freeze them wrapped in cling film.

13.- To bake them: Preheated your oven at 200 C. Place the pies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

14.- Let them cool a bit before eating because the filling is a million degrees hot when it comes out of the oven.

You can prepare a simple glaze with 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to cover them once they are cold.

I like them just as they are: crunchy, appley and not overly sweet.

DSC08299These are probably the nicest apple pies I’ve ever had. Hope you like them too.

Have a great Monday!