A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get to be part of an amazing hands-on baking workshop in Buenos Aires, organized by my friend Séverine, the founder of Tour F, a travel agency offering a wide range of authentic experiences in Argentina.
As you can see on my picture below, we were given an apron with a Spanish expression written on it: Las manos en la masa… which could be translated to getting your hands dirty, but with a focus on pastries since la masa means dough in Spanish.
The pastries chef is Angie, she’s passionate about baking and she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Chefs School, she’s a pro at this and learning from her was an absolute pleasure. I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this class because I don’t usually have a sweet tooth, but the quality of those 3 pastries were exceptional and they had nothing to do with what you can buy already made.
2. Making Alfajores de maizena
Alfajores are the most famous Argentine treat and it’s mainly made of Dulce de leche, this local caramel made of milk and sugar. For those who didn’t know, Argentina is full of cows, (like Normandy, but bigger) and you can find here the best meat. Dairy products are huge as well and Dulce de leche is one of them. I’ve never met an Argentine not liking Dulce de leche!
But we did not make our own Dulce de leche this time, Angie explained to us that it was a long process and it’s much more convenient to buy it already made which is what everyone does.
There are many types of Alfajores. The one we made is one of the most common, it’s called Alfajor de maizena. Apart from Dulce de leche, the ingredients include white flour, baking powder, maizena, sugar, egg yolk and lemon zest. Final touch, we dipped them into some coconut powder and they looked and tasted delicious!
2. Fried Argentinian pastry: Torta Frita
Then, we made Torta Frita which is quite similar to doughnuts, with one difference, we used beef fat, which is very local!
As explained by Angie in the picture above, it’s important to make a small hole in the middle of the dough in order to facilitate the frying process; this way, the frying oil will cook both sides without having to turn them over.
3. My absolute fav: Pasta Frola
Last but not least, I fell in love with Pasta Frola. I had seen this typical pastry in cafés and tasted it, but these were so much better. Making the dough makes all the difference!
This pastry has a singular look, with the typical grid pattern. The tart is filled with quince paste and it goes very well with this dough.
As you can see in the picture below, we ended up with a huge platter and we ate it with some delicious tea. There were some leftovers and we all took some home!
Such a great moment learning about one big part of the local gastronomy! I’m even more grateful by the fact that I got to share this experience with a dear friend I met here, Sushmita (you can call her Sush or Sushi!). Sush loves baking and she really appreciated this workshop, she learned a lot from Angie. You can read her full review here!
Angie is not currently available, she’s on maternity leave! But if you visit Buenos Aires in the next months, do not miss this opportunity, sweet tooth or not, this is the best and most typical pastries you can taste in Argentina.