Wednesday, May 25, 2011


In celebration of 25 de Mayo this year, we fried dessert. Sure, last year it was soup. This year it was serious. Last weekend at my father in law's birthday party we ate the most delicious pastelitos, aka warm, fried dough sprinkled with sugar and oozing with something sweet. Here's a photo of them in all their fried glory by Diego Llarrull.

Photo by Diego Llarrull
A post on From Argentina With Love convinced me that these are quite simple to make...just in time for 25 de Mayo! Instead of a recipe, I'm just going to say that we used pre-made empanada dough rounds (Yuli), some filling, and some sugar, along with oil for frying and almibar. To be more specific, we placed a square of filling - either dulce de membrillo, chocolate, or a spoonful of dulce de leche - in the center of one dough round, wet the area around the filling and then topped with another dough round, sealing the dough around the filling. 

To make this lovely flower shape, place your forefingers under the dough on opposite sides of the circle, pull up slightly and pinch the dough together using your middle finger and thumb. Repeat on the other side of the circle. We didn't moisten and and seal the edges so that we could have more fried dough surface area. However, it is advisable to do so if you use dulce de leche as a filling.

Dulce de membrillo is a traditional filling for pastelitos.

Chocolate is not.

This is not a science project, it's a jar of homemade (by the afore mentioned father in law - he's a real Renaissance man!) dulce de membrillo. The syrup (which results from boiling membrillo with sugar) is called almibar - we'll use this later.

So we take our little dough creations...whoops, some membrillo is poking out. But, no worries.

And we fry them in some hot oil (over medium heat) - this is sunflower oil.

They take about 1-2 minutes each to turn golden, and then should be removed to a paper towel where they will be immediately drizzled with a spoonful of almibar or sprinkled with sugar, or both!

Not long afterwards (because they should be eaten warm) they will be taken to the table to be consumed immediately with patriotic gusto.

Oooh, melty chocolate. (I'm warning you, this is not a traditional filling and may cause funny looks from locals)

Ooozing dulce de leche (also not traditional for pastelitos, watch yourselves)

Here's a familiar taste. Happy 25 de Mayo, Argentina. Sorry if I have displayed unpatriotic behavior by changing up the fillings, but they're delicious. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes and Dulce de Leche Frosting

I've been baking mucho lately. I should probably work more and bake less, but that is no fun. I've found two excellent chocolate cupcake recipes. One is Smitten Kitchen's flourless Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes. These are so rich that they don't need frosting but they do need something to fill the little sunken center on top, so I plopped in a scoop of ice cream. The second is a well-traveled Cooks Illustrated recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes, which I found the following half-recipe for on Cookie Madness. This is now my go-to recipe for chocolate cupcakes. I guess that's why they're the ultimate.

My Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes
Ganache Filling:
  • 1 oz / 28 grams bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tablespoon powdered sugar
Put all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Heat 10-30 seconds, until mixture is warm. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until just chilled, no more than 30 minutes.

  • 1 1/2 oz / 42 grams bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons / 15 grams cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons hot coffee
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons / 58 grams bread flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons / 72 grams sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine chocolate, cocoa, and hot coffee in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and refrigerate for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in flour mixture. Divide batter between 6 baking cups and place 1 rounded spoon of ganache on top of each cupcake. Bake at 350F/180C for 17-19 minutes, until just firm to the touch. 

The Ultimate recipe includes a creamy chocolate frosting recipe that I didn't make because I'm afraid of eating raw eggs. Instead, I topped with dulce de leche cream cheese frosting. Though, I would also suggest a cream-based mocha frosting or a perhaps even a marshmallow frosting, if you're into that sort of thing.

Dulce de Leche Frosting
  • 56 grams / 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 113 grams / 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 ounces (this is half of 3/4 cup) dulce de leche
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until very soft. Scrape down sides of bowl and add butter and dulce de leche. Beat on medium until well incorporated. Add the salt and powdered sugar. Beat on medium for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color. I noticed that it wasn't quite thick enough for frosting so I continued to add powdered sugar until I got the right consistency. This makes enough for about 12 cupcakes. The frosting also went well with vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache centers.