Argentine Sweets & A Recipe for Medialunas

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On nearly every block in Buenos Aires, you’ll find a panaderia, or bakery. The most popular pastries at the panaderia are facturas. Bakeries are filled with all different kinds. In the mornings, the bakeries open at dawn to prep for the breakfast rush, the sweet smells of pastries waft into the streets. Many Argentine’s will line up first thing in the morning to grab a dozen pastries before work.

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While we were in Buenos Aires, we stumbled upon an amazing panaderia, where the selection of pastries was incredible. We sampled almost every one! We loved the pastelitos criollos which had layers of puff pastry, fried and filled with quince jelly. The alfajores cookies were dusted with powered sugar and filled with a layer of the most scrumptious dulce de leche (get our recipe here!). Our favorite was the medialuna, a pastry that looks a lot like a croissant, but is smaller and a bit more sweet.  Medialunas are very popular in Argentina and they go well with coffee, yerba mate tea (or milk for little citizens). Get our recipe to create for your family at home.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of milk, heated to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups flour
  • 5 sticks of cold butter
  • 1 egg yolk plus one tablespoon of milk (for egg wash)
  • 1 cup water plus 1/2 cup of sugar for almibar (sugar glaze)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Warm milk and put it in a bowl.
  2. Add sugar and yeast, stirring to dissolve.
  3. Mix well with a whisk, stirring in salt, sugar, egg and flour.
  4. Keep mixing with hands, for three minutes or until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Continue kneading with your hands for ten minutes, or until your dough is sticky but smooth.
  6. Place the dough in a bowl, coated with vegetable oil. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  7. Place cold sticks of butter between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin.
  8. Pound until the butter is about a quarter of an inch thick and is more or less in a square.
  9. Place the butter in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.
  11. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, 1/2 of an inch thick.
  12. Take the butter and remove the plastic wrap, placing the butter on one half of the rectangle.
  13. Fold the other half of the dough over the butter and pinch all the edges to seal.
  14. Roll the dough out again into a rectangle, keeping the butter inside the dough. If this happens, pinch the area to seal it up again.
  15. Place the rectangle with the short side facing your body. Brush off any excess flour.
  16. Fold the top third of your dough down, then again. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (6 – 8 hours).
  17. Unfold the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle (30 x 16 inches).
  18. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough in half lengthwise to create two long rectangles.
  19. Stack one rectangle over the other, aligning the edges, cutting off the edges if they don’t match up.
  20. Cut the dough into triangles, with a three to four inch base. Lay each triangle out on your surface.
  21. Roll the triangles from the base to the tip into a croissant shape. Pull the two ends together to form the crescent shape.
  22. Place your half moons on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let rise for 30 mins, while your oven heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  23. Make an egg wash by combining 1 egg, beaten, with a tablespoon of milk. Brush the eggwash over the medialunas and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
  24. While the medialunas are cooking, make the almibar by heating one cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Continue to heat, while stirring, until the mixture has thickened.
  25. When the medialunas have cooled, brush the almibar on top and serve!

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