Ten years have passed since I’ve traveled to Argentina and from time to time, I find myself pining for its food — especially the sweet stuff like "alfajores" (cookies filled with dulce de leche). Living in Philadelphia, I didn’t think I’d be able to indulge in authentic Argentine baked goods until discovering Jezabel’s Cafe in Fitler Square.
Owned by Argentina native, Jezabel Careaga, the sunny spot is popular amongst locals, serving up everything from empanadas, sandwiches and salads to coffee and ice cream.
On this particular morning, however, I was all about breakfast and wanted a pastry that wasn’t a croissant. That’s when I discovered "facturas" — an Argentine take on a danish filled with "membrillo" (quince paste) and egg custard.
“My grandmother took care of me when my parents were at work so I have always had these memories in my head about going to the bakery and being 4-years-old, asking for a factura. So, this is a very dear dish to me,” Careaga told me.
I had to try it and ordered two facturas along with a cafe con leche, which is offered together as a special. Shaped like a bow tie, each side of the factura featured a different flavor — one with the homemade egg custard and the other with the membrillo. The pastry dough itself had the consistency of brioche, making the factura much more sustaining than your typical danish. The egg custard had a creamy, subdued sweetness to it which balanced out the brighter, tangier sweetness of the membrillo.
The experience of leisurely sipping my foamy cafe con leche and munching on my facturas was sublime and I will soon return — despite the location being far from where I live.
In the meantime, Careaga will be putting her empanadas on display tonight at Feastival 2016 and rest assured, your tastebuds will be transported to Argentina — no passport required.