Alfajores Payes...caramel filled Argentinian Biscuits
I discovered these delicious biscuits when on holiday in Buenos Aires in March this year. Rosie and I brought back a few box loads of them. I'm not a huge sweet tooth but these are amazing, especially with coffee! This recipe is straight out of Gourmet Traveller magazine so I've taken the lazy route and pasted the recipe details below. I'm new to making sweets and especially working with shortbread pastry, so I soon discovered that considering the massive amount of butter in the dough, it rolls best when it's really well chilled. The recipe says 30 minutes for the dough in the fridge, but on a warm day, give it an hour or so to really firm up. Another piece of advice you won't find in the recipe. It's suggested you use a 6.5cm cutter, however I think these would be better a little smaller in size, so perhaps 4.5cm or thereabouts.
For the tempered chocolate I recommend checking this quick video tutorial. Well worth it.
Recipe for Alfajores Payes
Cooking Time Prep time 30 mins, cook 3 hrs 50 mins (plus cooling, resting, setting)
300 gm (2 cups) plain flour, sieved
40 gm (¼ cup) pure icing sugar, sieved
250 gm cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
400 gm tempered melted dark chocolate (65% cocoa solids), to coat (see note)
For the Dulce de leche filling
395 gm canned sweetened condensed milk, unopened
1. For dulce de leche, place can of condensed milk in a large saucepan, cover with water. Bring to the simmer over medium-high heat, then cook, covered with a weighted lid, over low heat for 3½ hours. Do not uncover or touch can while it cooks as it may burst. Turn off heat, cool completely in liquid before removing can and opening (1-2 hours; do not open can until completely cold). Transfer caramel to a bowl, add ½ tsp sea salt, stir to combine. Set aside. Dulce de leche will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, indefinitely.
2. Process flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and ¼ tsp fine salt in a food processor until a dough forms, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest and firm (20-30 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Roll dough to 5mm thick on a lightly floured work surface, then cut into rounds using a 6.5cm-diameter cutter (re-roll scraps). Transfer to baking trays lined with baking paper. Refrigerate until chilled (20-30 minutes). Bake until golden (15-20 minutes), cool for 5 minutes on tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Spread half of the alfajores with dulce de leche and top with remaining biscuits, then stand on a wire rack lined with baking paper.
5. Brush one half and sides of each with chocolate and stand at room temperature until set (overnight), then turn and brush remaining half and stand until chocolate is set (1-2 hours).
OR (my suggestion)...dunk the biscuits so they are half coated in chocolate (as in the photo above) and rest on the baking paper for a couple of hours until chocolate sets....much easier!
Biscuits will keep in an airtight container for four days.
Tempering the chocolate.