Alfajores meringue

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 18 people

There are many delicious incarnations of the alfajor; this version coated with crisp meringue is among the best. Get your hands on the best dulce de leche possible - a thick and rich version, such as Havanna, is ideal. Start this recipe 12 hours ahead to allow the meringue to set.

  • 220 gm butter, softened
  • 120 gm caster sugar
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 415 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300 gm dulce de leche (see note)
  •  
  • Meringue icing
  • 240 gm caster sugar
  • 2 egg whites
01   Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides, then add honey, egg, vanilla seeds and ½ tsp salt and beat to combine. Add flour, cornflour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine. Turn out onto a work surface and gently bring dough together. Wrap in plastic wrap, pat into a disc and refrigerate until chilled and firm (1 hour).
02   Preheat oven to 180C and line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3mm, cut out 7cm-diameter rounds, transfer to prepared trays and dock with a fork. Bake, swapping trays halfway, until golden and cooked through (7-8 minutes). Cool briefly on trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
03   Spread half the biscuits with dulce de leche, sandwich with remaining biscuits and set aside.
04   For meringue icing, stir sugar and 80ml water in a small saucepan over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer without stirring, brushing crystals from sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until slightly reduced and syrupy (2-3 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggwhites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then increase speed and add syrup in a thin steady stream until incorporated. Continue whisking until meringue is cool and thick (8-10 minutes). Spread the sides and tops of the biscuits with a thin coating of meringue, wiping off any excess. Set aside on a wire rack until icing sets (12 hours or overnight) before serving. Alfajores will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
NoteDulce de leche is available from select grocers and delicatessens; the Havanna brand is available from The Essential Ingredient.

Topics:

COOKIES, DULCE DE LECHE, BAKING, VANILLA BEAN, ALFAJORES, AUTUMN

Recipe:

ALICE STOREY

Photography:

BEN DEARNLEY

Styling:

ALICE STOREY , VANESSA AUSTIN

FEATURED IN

May 2016

May 2016

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