The world has been closely watching Chile, since it was hit by a major earthquake last Wednesday. It all occurred simply too close to their Independence Day celebration. Chile celebrates 205 years of independence from Spain this Friday, September 18th. Falling on the weekend it was expected to be a jubilant festival. Fiestas Patrias or more commonly referred to as Dieciocho, or “18th” because the celebration occurs on September 18 doubles as a spring festival and the celebration can last for several days.
The Fonda tent heavily decorated for Fiesta Patrias.
I wonder if the Fondas that usually spring up for the celebrations will be as densely populated as they usually can be seen to be for the occasion. The tented venues serve barbequed meats that you drown with Chicha – a staple of the event, however my favorite is desert which is the Alfajores cookies. Nothing beats two lightly breaded cookies joined with Manjar – a sweet filling made from caramelized condensed milk. I have searched many restaurants for it, but they can never replicate the authentic and homemade Alfajores that you find in South America.
Chicha – The Independence Day drink of choice for Chileans. Made from grapes it is a light alcoholic beverage. In southern Chile apple Chicha is also popular.
I certainly hope Chile celebrates 205 years with full gust, not only in honor of its independence, but to show its strength as a nation undergone the worst natural disasters. I honor the Chilean perseverance and pay ode to Fiesta Patrias with this Alfajores recipe.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract done
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (for garnish)
- In a large pot, fill with water to cover the can of sweetened condensed milk. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, making sure to add more water as necessary. Remove the can of condensed milk from the water and let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350˙F.
- In a medium bowl combine flour and salt. In a stand-up mixer cream together butter, sugar and vanilla extract for 3-4 minutes, mixture will turn light and fluffy. As mixer is going, add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and
- refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- On a heavily floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. The dough will be a little sticky so be sure to flour your roller, too. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out shortbread cookies and place on baking sheet.
- Transfer cookies to oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Let cool on wire rack. To assemble the sandwiches, open the can of condensed milk, it is now dulce de leche. Lay half of the shortbread cookies bottom-side up. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche on one half of the cookies. Top with the other half and lightly press down until you’ve gone through all the cookies. Dust with powdered sugar.