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Tucked away in a small block of unassuming shops in the most unassuming residential suburb in Sydney is a little gem of an Argentinian bakery called Confiteria Maciel. The pastries here are to-die-for – filled with dulce de leche (a thick rich milk caramel), fresh cream and custard – and are so pretty it is hard not to buy one of everything just to try them all. The pastries are rich enough to satisfy that burning sugar craving, but small enough to make them (almost) guilt-less treats… I sure could do with a few of these after the 10 hour flight I’ve just completed…

Dulce de leche tartlet with pecan

Soft sponge with fresh cream and chocolate shavings

Custard tartlet

Mini alfajores

Alfajores consist of dulce de leche, jam or mousse sandwiched between two biscuits. I developed a habit for these on a trip to Argentina last summer because the airlines serve them in the little lunch boxes that they provide on all the domestic flights (of which I took a few). Who would’ve thought it would be possible for airline food to develop a foodie habit?!

The beginning of a sweet addiction

I’ve promised myself that I will learn to make dulce de leche from scratch. In the meantime, I will be happy to take it straight from a jar. There is a fabulous fresh food grocer-cum-deli called Fred’s One Stop Shopping, which is not too far from Confiteria Maciel, that stocks a small range of pre-made dulce de leche – including a reduced fat one – which, kind of defeats the purpose of dulce de leche, but we can’t be naughty all the time, I suppose.

Pre-made dulce de leche

Now if that’s not two good reasons to trek out into the suburbs, I don’t know what is! (Confiteria Maciel is at Shop 3, 63A Brennan Street, Smithfield. Fred’s One Stop Shop is on the corner of Smithfield Road and Edensor Road, Bonnyrigg).

What is piquing your sugar craving right now? Have you ever made dulce de leche? Do you have any tips for me?