A Recipe for Love: Inside the Pages of "Dulce de Leche"
By Olivia Kappler | Photographs by Michael Fornataro | Styling by Alyssa Otto
A book of her own family’s recipes for sweet treats and delectable desserts was inevitable for local author Josephine Caminos Oría. She began cooking with her grandmother, Dorita, as a child, and has since collected an array of recipes and tips for incorporating the sweet taste of dulce de leche into life. The La Plata, Buenos Aires, native and Pittsburgh resident also shares memories and family traditions in her cookbook, aptly titled “Dulce de Leche.” Keep reading for an excerpt from the book itself!
From “Dulce de Leche” by Josephine Caminos Oría:
En La Mesa De Postre
In Argentina, no fiesta is complete without a mesa de postre, or a stand-alone dessert display comprised of a montón (brunch) of several mini-postres en shots (two-bite desserts served in shot glasses), mini-tarteletas (tartlets) and a variety of cakes and galletitas (cookies) arranged on a dessert table that is so impressive it also serves as the decorative focal point of the event.
Guests would never dare to sneak a bite until well after the main meal is complete and the dancing begins. Then throughout the night and into the early morning, they casually work their way around the table’s bounty.
Many of the sweets for a mesa de postre include dulce de leche: layered within a cake, hiding in the heart of a cupcake waiting to be discovered or baked golden brown into a rustic tarta.
Among the more common postres are flan; chocotorta (a multilayer cake of store-bought chocolate cookies soaked in coffee and topped with a ducle de leche-cream cheese filling); tiramisù; mousse de chocolate; lemon pie; milhojas (the dulce-de-leche-packed Argentine version of a French napoleon); tartas de manzana (apple tartlets); and pastafrola (artisanal pie filled with dulce de leche or quince jam). Assorted tartlets with frutas del bosque (mixed berries) are also very popular, as are panqueques rellenos de dulce de leche (crêpes filled with dulce de leche) and alfajores (traditional Argentine sandwich cookies).
In lo cotidiano (everday life), ice cream is a way of life. Helado is so popular that most every barrio has multiple heladerías that offer home delivery well past midnight. Dulce de leche is undoubtedly the most popular ice cream flavor in Argentina, and it comes in a variety of concoctions – coco con dulce de leche (with coconut), granizado (with chocolate bits), brownies or mini Oreos, tramontane (vanilla ice cream swirled with dulce de leche and bits of cookies bathed in dark chocolate), and last but not least, super dulce de leche (dulce de leche ice cream swirled with generous ribbons of more dulce de leche).
Dorita always liked to finish her day off with a bite-sized sweet note. “La vida es muy corta.” (“Life is too short.”) You have to treat yourself every now and then, she’d say, shrugging her shoulders. The following collection will give you a full range of dulce de leche desserts – from my most decadent carrot cake to an irresistible tiramisù to a simple ice cream, and everything else in between.
+ Josephine Caminos Oría will be doing a book signing at Splurge in the Fox Chapel Plaza on April 1 from 6-8 p.m. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be on hand, too! To purchase a copy of “Dulce de Leche,” visit ladorita.net.