With two unique fillings - sweet vegan dulce de leche, or a zesty Meyer lemon curd - these Passover gluten-free alfajores are a perfect way to close a decadent meal. This post is a partnership with JDC Entwine. I was compensated monetarily for my work. Yet you can always count on me to only work with companies and products I love!
Love at first bite
The first time I tried alfajores was in a small cafe in a hip young neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.
It was the afternoon rush hour. Suited unshaven businessmen with polished leather Oxfords jostled for counter space. Besides them sat teenagers in school uniform, backpacks carelessly slung off one shoulder.
Cautiously, I ordered in broken Spanish, "un cappuccino y un alfajor." Pointing to one of the chocolate-covered cookies hidden under a glass dome helped.
Coincidentally, the server, in a black vest worn snugly overtop of a white tailored shirt, was more of a bartender. While already taking another customer's order, he nodded absentmindedly at me.
Shortly after, a steaming cappuccino was deposited in front of me on a small white coaster. Alongside it was an alfajor cookie, a small Duralex glass of soda and a snow-white paper napkin.
The history of alfajores
That first bite was heavenly. Initially, the crumbly cookie fell apart in my mouth, depositing melting particles of sugar and dough on my tongue. Then the decadently sweet dulce de leche filling flooded my sense. I chased it immediately with a sip of strong cappuccino.
If you had told me that somewhere in the background a choir of angels began to sing, I wouldn't have doubted you for a moment. It was that good.
The ultimate Argentinian dessert, the alfajor cookie, made its way to Latin America from Spain. It was inherited from the Arabic bakers of the 15th century. Today, it is a popular confection that can be found in different iterations. Versions vary from cheap drugstore versions to artisanal, highly sophisticated cookies made by some of Argentina’s top bake houses.
During my time in Argentina, I sampled many of the finest specimen, even bringing boxes home as gifts.
But it took a call from JDC Entwine, with whom I first went to Argentina, to try and recreate my own.
ReOrdered, Year II
For the second year in a row, JDC Entwine approached me to research the foods of four lesser-known Jewish cultures and produce an expansion to the first cookbook we did together.
This unique toolkit offers a new way to look at, and to celebrate, the old familiar holiday of Passover from a humanistic global perspective.
ReOrdered is completely FREE to order and receive. The kit offers participants a dive into the global and interconnected Jewish world through the timeless themes of freedom and storytelling.
ReOrdered puts participants at the centre of the story. Finally, it invites them to share, think and talk out modern day Passover issues instead of just following the same-old story of the Haggadah.
This year's expansion pack offers eight new recipes from four global Jewish communities: India, Poland, Greece and Argentina.
I have personally tested, developed and researched each recipe. Therefore, I unabashedly admit that they're all mouthwatering!
Truthfully, I am so proud to be a part of this incredible initiative, and I'd love to have you join me by making recipes from it.
Passover dairy-free and gluten-free alfajores
Today, I'm happy to share with you one of my favourite recipes from the pack: the Passover dairy-free and gluten-free alfajores.
Though commercial alfajores are often made with flour, one traditional recipe makes it with only cornstarch. This makes it a perfect Passover treat!
My gluten-free alfajores recipe uses two different fillings. Traditionalists will love the ubiquitous sweet dulce de leche, made vegan. For more modern eaters, there's a zesty, special Meyer lemon curd.
Whichever filling you choose, these Passover dairy-free alfajores are a perfect way to close a decadent meal.
The recipe video
I made a special video showing you all the stages of this specially adapted Argentinian dessert, or you can print the recipe below.
But the smartest move on your part would be to order your own copy of the FREE ReOrdered: a global Passover toolkit and cookbook.
Have I mentioned that it's free?
Join me for a live IG class
But if a video only wets your appetite, and you'd still like to see more - then this Sunday, March 31 at 11:00 am EDT, join me for my first (!) live cooking session!
Live from the Instagram stories of jdcentwine, you'll learn how to make a glorious recipe for Passover.
But which one?! Here is the fun part- you get to pick! You can help me decide which traditional Jewish recipe I will make for you LIVE on Instagram?
Will it be my grandma's all-mighty gefilte fish, a recipe that turns any opponent to a fan pleading for more?
Or will it be the great Argentinian wonder, these Gluten Free Alfajores in all of their sweet glory?
Find out who will be our great winner and learn how to cook it with me this Sunday, March 31 at 11:00 am EDT at jdcentwine Stories.
Passover dairy-free gluten-free alfajores
Vegan dulce de leche
- 1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk
Dairy-free Meyer lemon curd
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Juice of 2 lemons about 1 cup
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup of coconut oil
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
Gluten-free Passover alfajores
- 4 egg yolks
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup vegan butter
- 2½ cups cornstarch or arrowroot or tapioca starch if avoiding kitniyot
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 can vegan dulce de leche OR 1 cup Meyer lemon curd
- ¼ cup grated coconut
Vegan dulce de leche
- Place the whole can of sweetened condensed coconut milk into a high-rimmed pot. Pour enough water to cover, plus 1-inch over.
- Cover pot and cook over high heat. Once the water reaches a boil, immediately turn down to low to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Continue cooking for 3.5 hours, maintaining a simmer the whole time through.
- Continuously check to ensure that the water level does not go down. If water evaporates, add additional water to ensure can remains submerged by at least one inch.
- After 3.5 hours, remove from heat. Let water cool and remove can with tongs once cooled - do not attempt to open or move can while hot as it could explode. Place the can in fridge to cool and thicken before continuing to make the alfajores.
Dairy-free Meyer lemon curd
- In a medium saucepan, warm lemon juice, sugar, and coconut oil, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the oil is completely melted.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the eggs and yolks.
- When the lemon juice mixture is warm and the coconut oil is melted, gradually pour it slowly into the eggs, whisking constantly.
- When the lemon-egg mixture is fully combined, transfer it back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Remove the resulting lemon curd from heat.
- Transfer lemon zest into a large bowl. Set a strainer over the bowl. Working quickly and whisking constantly with a spatula, strain the curd into the zest.
- Stir the curd a few times to allow it to begin cooling, and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator until ready to fill alfajores.
Gluten-free Passover alfajores
- In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs with an electric mixer for around 4 minutes. Add butter and whip just until combined, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, sift baking powder and starch together twice. Add mixture to the egg, butter and sugar mixture.
- Fold the mixture with a spatula until combined, then knead the dough with your hands a few times to ensure fully incorporation.
- Cover bowl and place dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours - or preferably overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with starch, and place dough on surface. Roll dough out into a thin layer, around ¼ of an inch.
- Using a circular cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a very thin offset spatula, transfer dough circles to sheet, leaving a bit of room for them to expand.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes. When cookies are done baking and are firm and slightly golden at the bottom, remove from oven and leave on sheet to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Once the biscuits have cooled completely, using a teaspoon or a piping bag, place a teaspoon of vegan dulce de leche or dairy-free meyer lemon curd on the bottom of one cookie and cover with another, creating a sandwich.
- Roll the sides of each cookie in grated coconut, adhering it to the dulce de leche.
- Cookies will keep in a tightly sealed container for a few days.