Friday, September 14, 2012

Central American Milk Candy Tartlets for Independence Day

Empty tartlet shells that will be filled with dulce de leche

The rumble of helicopters sent chills through our spines, right before camouflaged soldiers covered with strips of grass emerged, resembling "The Ohio Grassman", or gorillas. The military scene covered the street, as paratroopers and rescue personnel scrambled on the pavement. A few airplanes swerved into the scene.
     This military parade, that takes place on September 15th in San Salvador, along with students that parade in other locations, brings back sounds and images of the war that took place in 1979 through 1992. Except for the bands, that vehemently invade the air with whistling from the "Bridge Across the River Kwai", banging on cymbals, and picturesquely beating on the drums as they methodically lift the sticks up to their shoulders.
September 15th is Independence Day for several Central American countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) and is celebrated with parades and flags are posted or waved across towns and cities. There was no bloodshed in 1821, the year in which it took place.

Tartaritas de Leche, or Milk Candy Tartlets, are a traditional type of milk candy available in Guatemala and El Salvador, that is sometimes mixed with ground rice (or rice flour) and poured into tart shells. Like most of the traditional candies of the area, their origins spring from Spanish desserts often made by nuns.


1 pound of flour
3/4 cup orange juice or water
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
5 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 liter of milk
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 ounce of rice flour

Mix the dough ingredients, and roll into a ball. Roll the dough out 1/4 of an inch thick, and cut circles the same size as mini tart pans. Place a dough circle in each mini tart pan. Bake all the tart crusts at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. 
Cook the milk, sugar, and rice flour in a pot until the mix thickens and pulls away from the bottom of the pot.  Place a spoonful of milk candy in each crust. Enjoy!


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