Alfajores

Spiced Fruit and Nut Biscuits

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    30

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

THESE LITTLE LOGS OF FRUIT AND NUT ARE THE SUCCESSORS TO THE SWEETMEATS THAT THE MOORS ENJOYED CENTURIES AGO. ALMONDS, FRUIT AND HONEY ARE ROLLED INTO THIN FINGERS, THEN BAKED. ENJOY THEM WITH COFFEE IN THE MORNING OR WITH A GLASS OF PEDRO XIMÉNEZ SHERRY IN THE EVENING, OR VICE VERSA — I AM NOT JUDGMENTAL. ALFAJORES CAN BE FOUND IN BAKERIES AROUND ANDALUSIA BUT MY FAVOURITE BAKERY IN CÁDIZ SELLS THEM IN A BOX, EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED IN DECORATED WAX PAPER. WHEN YOU UNROLL THEM THERE IS A SENSE OF ANTICIPATION — AND THEN YOU BITE INTO THE LIGHTLY SPICED PASTRY, SWEET WITH FRUIT AND HONEY.

Ingredients

  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 125 g ( oz/¾ cup) blanched almonds
  • 125 g ( oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
  • 160 g ( oz/1 cup) dried figs, finely chopped
  • 60 g ( oz/½ cup) sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) honey
  • finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 10 cloves, heads only, ground
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 20 ml (½ fl oz) Pedro Ximénez sherry
  • 125 g ( oz/1 cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Toast the flour by spreading it thinly over two baking trays and bake it for 12–15 minutes, or until golden. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Spread the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 8–10 minutes, or until toasted, then remove and cool. Chop the cooled almonds in a food processor until a coarse meal forms, then combine with the flour. Rub the butter into the flour mixture for 1 minute or until nearly combined, then add the dried fruit, honey, lemon zest, spices and sherry and combine just until the dough comes together. Place in a bowl, cover and leave to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Divide the mixture into 30 pieces. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface into a log approximately 8 cm ( inches) long and 1.5 cm ( inch) in diameter. Place on a lightly floured baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven and, while still warm, roll well in the icing sugar. Leave to cool, then serve with coffee or anis liqueur. The biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 days.