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Argentinian Desserts with Jezabel Careaga

Jezabel Careaga returned to COOK last week to show how to make some desserts that are special to her Argentinian background. The multi-talented chef/owner of Jezabel’s Cafe and Jezabels’ Studio demonstrated how to make a coconut dulce de leche cookie and baked a special Argentinian tart for guests to enjoy. Lucky for you, Jezabel shared her recipes with us, and now we are sharing them with you! Read on to see how these delicious desserts were made so that you can try them out at home.

Alfajores de Maizena 
 
This shortbread-like sandwich cookie is fun to assemble and even more delicious to eat. Filled with dulce de leche in the middle and rolled in flaky coconut shavings, this cookie is an Argentinian classic. Just smelling the dough made Jezabel reminisce about baking these cookies with her mother.
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Ingredients
  • 600 grams corn starch
  • 400 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder.
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 sticks of room temperature butter.
Mix all dry ingredients, add butter in chunks and start mixing, until butter is incorporated with the batter.
In a bowl mix:
  • 8 yolks
  • 1/8 cup Porto wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix with a fork and pour into the flour mixture, mix until smooth, dough must be smooth and easy to work with, if needed add an extra egg. Roll the dough with plenty of flour and cut cookies. Be sure to space the cookies out evenly and bake them at 400 for 15-18 minutes. Jezabel recommends having some warm cookies before they cool completely.

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Once the cookies have cooled you are ready to start assembling your Alfajores. Find two cookies of similar shape and size. Jezabel was keen on finding the perfect cookie matches. Once you have you cookie pairs, fill a piping bag with dulce de leche. Start piping onto the edge of one cookie and work your way into the middle.
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Place your other cookie on top of the dulce de leche. Next is Jezabel’s personal touch: spread the dulce de leche around the cookie. This allows for more coconut shavings to cover the cookies. Grab a bowl of coconut shavings and roll your cookie sandwiches until they are covered.
Pastafrola
Much like the alfajores, pastafrola has a shortbread-esque crust. Jezabel made two versions of the tart, one filled with membrillo and one filled with chocolate dulce de leche. Membrillo is quince paste, which has a similar flavor profile to apples or pears. This is the traditional style of Argentinian pastafrola, however, Jezabel noticed that Americans sometimes prefer the chocolate dulce de leche style more so she adapted for a new variation.
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2.5 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 stick of  butter.
Mix all dry ingredients, add butter in chunks and start mixing, until butter is incorporated with batter.
In a bowl mix:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix with a fork and pour into the flour mixture, mix until sand-like consistency. Roll out dough into pie crust. Place in a baking dish and crimp the edges.

 

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For the filling you can use either Membrillo softened with warm water over the stove, or mix 2 cups dulce de leche with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. Take any remaining dough scraps and roll into fist sized ball. Roll flat and cut into strips for lacing the pie. Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
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Jezabel’s Teas
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In addition to the sweet treats, Jezabel served up some of her special blends of teas. Jezabel loves tea and was passionate when telling guests how she creates her tea blends. She explained that she goes to farmers in person to see first hand their operation and ensure that the freshest leaves are used. All of Jezabel’s teas are sourced as locally as possible. When certain leaves are not available locally, she gets the more difficult-to-find leaves from New York.
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Jezabel served her camomile blend first to set the mood for class. The class concluded with a cup of black tea, to end on a strong note and serve as a pick me up when leaving. However, everyone’s favorite tea of the class was served up right in the middle, Jezabel’s jasmine pearl tea. This tea was not only delicious, but also beautiful. A small handful of jasmine blossoms were placed in a cup of hot water.
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After letting the blossoms sit for a few minutes to steep the tea is ready to enjoy. The jasmine pearl tea has a light sweetness to it with floral notes. It was heart-warming and delicious, perfect for the harsh winter.
If this post has made you crave some of these Argentinian delights, be sure to check out Jezabel’s Cafe! Not only does her cafe have the sweets, coffee and teas, you’re looking for, but Jezabel also serves up breakfast and her famous empanadas. Additionally, Jezabel’s second location, Jezabel’s Studio, also serves coffee, tea, desserts and empanadas like the cafe, but has a slightly different approach. The studio space is also used for intimate cooking demonstrations and selling home goods, sound familiar? Check out both locations!
Jezabel’s Cafe
2536 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Open 8 am – 7 pm Seven days a week
267-519-2494
Jezabel’s Studio
208 S 45th St, Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Open 11 am – 7 pm Wednesday – Saturday, and 11 am – 5 pm Sunday
215-985-2725
Jezabel Careaga is an extremely talented entrepreneur who not only cooks, caters, and runs her businesses, but she also does woodworking! Check out Jezabel’s Studio to browse her furniture and home goods, such as her cutting boards. COOK is proud to sell Jezabel’s cutting boards at our shop, so next time you are in the shop look for these cutting boards!
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