Culinary tour to Argentina, Panqueques de Dulce de Leche

I can't believe it, it's finally here! I've decided to participate in a blogger event and I made it to the end. On top of that, it's a wonderful event! I joined Culinary Tour 2010, hosted by Joan from Foodalogue. The theme for this year is "South of the Border". This week we are in Argentina.

Argentine cuisine stems from the combination of Spanish, French, Italian and other European cuisines. Another important factor is that the Argentina is one of the world's major food producer. Who doesn't know Argentine beef? What really surprised me was that Argentineans eat a lot of pasta. Mmmm, I love pasta. But you already know that. I wanted to try something special, something I didn't know, and of course, as typical as possible. Well, I'm not sure I met these requirements when talking about crepes. However, I read that Panqueques de Dulce de Leche are very popular Argentine dessert. And, Dulce de Leche on its own is the most typical and favorite dessert.

When I tried to find a dish to recreate I liked several of them. For example Argentine locro soup was my hot favourite and I will definitely give it a go sometimes because it looked extremely delicious. My final choice - Panqueques de Dulce de Leche was influenced by the fact that I heard about Dulce de Leche couple of weeks ago, when I read David Lebovit'z post about Food Bloggers Camp in Mexico. I googled Dulce de Leche instantly, and it looked very intriguing. Oh yes, can you believe it? I'd never heard of it before that!

So what I can say? Be careful. Dulce de Leche is pretty darn addictive! :)

Panqueques de Dulce de Leche/ Crepes with Dulce de Leche

3 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
vegetable oil for frying

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, salt and sugar. Add the melted butter and whisk until fully incorporated.

2. Heat a lightly greased frying pan over a medium heat. Ladle or pour a little batter (depending on your frying pan size, just enough so it will thinly coat your pan) into the pan and tilt and rotate the pan until the batter coats the bottom evenly. Cook over medium-high heat until the edges start to brown. Flip the crepe and cook the second side for a few more seconds.

3. Remove the cooked crepe from the pan and place it on a plate.

Dulce de Leche
1000 ml whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 vanilla bean, split (optional)

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, sugar and baking soda. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring. Remove from the heat and skim off any scum on top.

3. Add the vanilla bean (if using) and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

4. Remove the vanilla bean (if using) and discard it. Continue to simmer gently for another 1/2 - 1 hour over very low heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and caramelised. Remove from heat and let it cool.

5. Dulce de Leche can be stored in a refrigerator in a clean glass jar for 1-2 weeks.