Panqueques de Dulce de Leche (Cajeta Crepes)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter melted (plus 1 tablespoon to grease the pan)
- dulce de leche
- powdered sugar (optional)
While Argentina certainly cannot claim a monopoly on dulce de leche (known elsewhere as manjar, arequipe, cajeta or confiture de lait), it’s undeniable that this rich caramel spread is inextricably linked with Argentina. An indispensable ingredient when it comes to Argentine desserts, dulce de leche turns up in ice cream, as a filling in cakes, cookies and pastries, in candies, and as a topping for toast.
As local legend tells it, the birth of dulce de leche can be attributed to a culinary accident that occurred in 1829. With the hope of ending a period of civil war in Argentina, the leaders of opposing political and military forces, Juan Manuel de Rosas and Juan Lavalle, decided to call a truce. Rosas invited Lavalle to sign the Cañuelas Pact at his headquarters on a large ranch called La Caledonia. Lavalle arrived at the ranch tired from the journey, and he decided to rest a bit before meeting with Rosas. He lay down on a cot in the tent where Rosas normally slept.
Meanwhile, one of Rosas’ servants was busy preparing the lechada—hot milk with sugar—that was drunk as an accompaniment to mate during that period. When the servant went to take some mate to Rosas, she found Lavalle in Rosas’ tent and panicked. Unaware of the planned meeting between the two leaders, she alerted the troops to the presence of the “enemy,” leaving the lechada unattended on the stove in the chaos. When she finally returned, she discovered that the contents of the pot had turned into a thick, gooey (and delicious!) spread—what we know today as dulce de leche.
One of the country’s best loved desserts and a standard on the dessert menu at many an Argentine restaurant, panqueques de dulce de leche (otherwise known as crepes filled with dulce de leche) positively ooze with sweet, sticky caramel goodness. They’re an elegant and relatively simple dessert to prepare. Give them a try!