This time we used the fact that the Easter holiday fell within the month to serve as inspiration for our birthday treats. We selected our festive, celebratory Hot Cross Buns for the menu as well as an egg-shaped wooden tray on which to serve them, and used an egg-shaped cookie cutter for the Alfajores cookies.
Here’s the menu:
- Crepe Cake with Coconut Filling
- Currant-Studded Hot Cross Buns
- Egg-Shaped Alfajores Cookies
Crepe Cake. This deliciously unique “cake” delivered layer upon layer of the creamiest filling ever, a combination of cream cheese, crème fraiche, and cream of coconut! The idea for it came from the cover of the magazine, Victoria, which “promises a return to loveliness”, that I spotted in the checkout line at the grocery store. It was tedious to make all the individual crepes and a little tricky to divide out the cream so each layer was even, but the overall effect was dramatic.
The first time I tried crepes was in the Art Deco district in Miami back in 2013 at a place called A La Folie. I couldn’t believe how amazing they were or why I hadn’t come across them before then. I had the Poire, Brie et Noix (caramelized pears, brie cheese, and walnuts in a savory buckwheat crepe) and the Mont-Blanc (chestnut puree with whipped cream in a sweet flour-based crepe). After returning from my trip, I became a regular customer at the cutest crepe place in Old Town, Alexandria called Fontaine. But the fact is I often make delicious ones at home using the Bon Appetit recipe, Basic Buckwheat Crepes.
Hot Cross Buns. I look forward to these soft, lightly sweetened and spiced buns every year! They are perfect with afternoon tea or toasted for breakfast. My favorite part (taste and message) is the generous vanilla buttercream announcing the cross. I am laughing as I type the following words, remembering the first time I tried making them in 2005. I had made a double batch intending to share them and had forgotten to add the salt. This was a critical error; no salt, no taste. Although I was sad to throw them away, I ended up getting a lot of enjoyment from the experience, as I watched the neighborhood squirrels happily pluck them out and scurry off with their treasures.
Alfajores. These South American cookies are really, really good! The cookie contains an inordinate amount of cornstarch, lending to its unique and desirable flakiness. And, it is the flakiness that is best paired with the dense, very sweet dulce de leche that you thickly distribute between the two cookies. You probably wouldn’t be happy eating the cookie by itself. Conversely, you would be very happy eating the dulce de leche by itself! But, the joining of the two unlikely characters is magic.
I had these for the first time back in 1999 at a Peruvian Pollo Rico restaurant after eating their signature rotisserie chicken. Based on it being my first time trying the sequence of flavors and the happy context for the meal, I don’t think I can ever capture that taste experience again, but these cookies got me close! I used the recipe on Chowhound (that apparently derives from Argentina) with good success, though I may adjust the cornstarch amount down slightly in future attempts.
corrie @ Peachie’s Treats