Pepitas – Little oodles of joy
Here in Buenos Aires, you can find “pepitas” in almost any bakery. These little bundles of yumminess are essentially butter cookies with a little bit of quince jelly smeared on top of the biscuit, and make a terribly addictive combination.
How does quince look like?
Basically, the quince looks like a pear-shaped lemon, and grows on trees just like lemons do. Here’s how they look like when they are ripe (I never knew what quince looked like till today!)
What is quince jelly (dulce de membrillo)?
Quince jelly is called “dulce de membrillo” in Spanish, and is traditionally and predominantly from Portugal, Italy (exported when the South of Italy was part of the Kingdom of Aragón) and Spain. Dulce de membrillo is a firm, sticky, sweet reddish hard paste made of the quince (Cydonia oblonga) fruit. Dulce de membrillo is also very popular in America, in Brazil (as marmelada), Argentina, Chile, Peru Mexico and Uruguay, and in Israel, as a typical Sephardi dish.
Dulce de membrillo is made of quince fruit, sugar and water, cooked over a slow fire. It is sweet and mildly tart, and similar in consistency, flavor and use to guava cheese or guava paste. It is sold in squares or blocks, then cut into thin slices and spread over toasted bread or sandwiches, plain or with cheese, often served for breakfast or as a snack, with manchego cheese or mató cheese. It is very often used to stuff pastries.
Creating the Buenos Aires experience
I wanted to start learning how to cook more argentine food, including its delightful pastries and sweets. Thus I set out to make these lovely sweet pepitas this afternoon (with Juan’s mum giving me guidance). OMG…! I cannot believe how delicious they turned out. I can’t stop eating them.
PEPITAS (Makes around 100)
1) 300g of self-raising flour
2) 150g of butter
3) 50g of sugar
4) 500g of quince jelly
5) 1 tablespoon of white wine
6) 1 tablespoon of water
7) 1 teaspoon of sugar
1) Cut the quince jelly into cubes, and add the wine, water and 1 teaspoon of sugar
2) Heat over very low fire, and when the jelly starts to soften, remove from heat and mash it with a fork (make sure it is not too watery)
3) In a mixing bowl, sift in self-raising flour
4) Cut butter into small cubes, and mix into flour, using two small knives to break the butter into smaller pieces
5) Add in sugar and mix well, to get a homogenous mixture
6) Using your hand, knead the cookie mixture well on a cool, dry surface, then flatten the batter to 1 cm thickness
7) Use a cookie mould (preferably round, but any shape you like will do) to cut out small pieces of batter
8) Arrange small batter pieces on a greased baking tray
9) Use a teaspoon to scoop some mashed quince jelly from step 2 and on top of the batter pieces (in the center)
10) Bake in oven at 190 deg cel for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are cookies and turning golden brown
11) Let cookies cool for 10 minutes before serving
Cut quince jelly into small cubes:
Mashed quince jelly after adding wine, water, sugar:
Add in butter and sugar:
Mix flour, butter and sugar to get this mixture:
Add in eggs:
Mix well to get this cookie dough:
Knead dough well and flatten on a cool dry surface:
Using a rolling pin:
Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes:
Arrange the batter pieces on a greased baking mould:
Add mashed quince jelly on top of batter pieces:
Pepitas for a beautiful Saturday afternoon!