Spring in Tucumán, Argentina is a contradiction, but a beautiful one in its own way. In early September, the temperature starts to climb, and the scent of orange blossoms fills the air from the trees that line the city’s avenues. Ash from sugar cane mills (ingenios) falls from the sky, leaving a fine gray powder on everything. As the temperature warms, your mind wanders to the stunning mountain, Cierro San Javier, just a few miles outside town and perfect for hiking and cycling, normally visible from any high point in the city like my apartment balcony on the 13th floor of a charming dilapidated building in town, but on most days, the mountain is now completely obscured by the smoky haze. As you walk down the sidewalk, Lapacho trees in pink, yellow, and white drop their petals in front of you, creating carpets of vibrant color.
|Photo credit:Paula Rey|
Probably my favorite part – my produce market (verdulería) is overflowing with strawberries! This is exciting for me, because I did not see a single berry—fresh, frozen, canned, or even dried, all winter here – so different from the fluorescent-lit 24 hour, grocery store-pharmacy-photo-drycleaner-eye-doctor-you-name-it supermarkets in the US, where you can buy anything anytime no matter the season.
This easy dessert will have you head over heels. The sweetness of the strawberries and the richness of the ricotta – the buttery lightness of the cookies with the boozy bite of the dulce de leche liquor – the flavor pairings here are perfection.
[Recipe after the jump!]
Strawberries with Ricotta and Dulce de Leche
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup good quality ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ lb fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
- vainilla cookies/savoiardi/ladyfingers or pound cake
- Dulce de leche liquor, to taste
- The recipe is so simple. Mix the ricotta with the sugar and vanilla extract, then just take your favorite dessert cups or bowls, and put a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the middle of each one. Top with strawberries and arrange cookies around sides. If you really want to give it an Argentine twist, add a shot of dulce de leche liquor.
About the Dulce de Leche liquor: As you can see from the photo, my dulce de leche liquor came from the supermarket. It's commonly available here - obviously not the case all over the world. Luckily for you, Sarah at All Our Fingers in the Pie has a great recipe for dulce de leche, and then the liquor. I urge you to try it. Yes, it will probably get your kitchen sticky, but I promise it’s worth it.