Bizcocho

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Bizcocho (pl: bizcochos), refers to various flaky pastries and cookies that are native to Latin American countries. The sweet variety of this pastry is also popularly known as Dominican Bizcocho. These pastries are integral to the Uruguayan culture and are part of all the households and even work places of this region, where they are usually eaten at breakfast or with the afternoon tea. They are also delicious accompaniments of coffee, mate or café con leche. These baked pastries are made savory as well as sweet. The savory pastries usually come with fillings of cheese, salami or ham and sweet pastries use chocolate paste, pastry cream, dulce de leche and dulce de membrillo fillings. The pastries are also made with a coating of sugar or chocolate and go by the name Facturas in Argentina.

 

History

Bizcocho is believed to have originated in Europe, but for many years now it has been native to the South American region, especially in Rio de la Plata. The first pastry of this type was developed in this region and thereafter many variations were developed. Today, they are available at special shops called bizcocherias, apart from the regular bakeries (panaderias).

 

Ingredients – Dominican Bizcocho

Bizcocho has three basic requirements - base, meringue and the filling.

  • Base - All-purpose flour, creamed butter, margarine, eggs, grated lime peel, orange juice, sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract.
  • Meringue – Egg whites, sugar (for caramel), powdered sugar (for meringue), cream of tartar, salt and water.
  • Filling – Cubed pineapple, sugar, water and vanilla extract.

 

Method of Preparation

Bizcocho is baked with pineapple mixture as the filling (pineapple cooked in water with sugar and vanilla extract to result in a marmalade). Two baking pans are layered with this pineapple marmalade followed by the cake batter and baked like a regular cake. When done, they are cooled and joined with the filling sides facing each other. This sandwiched cake is topped with meringue and served.

 

Popular Bizcocho Variations

Bizcocho has many variations within the various regions of South and Central America. Detailed here are the varieties -

  • Crusanes – They are popularly known as croissants. These pastries are made savory as well as sweet. The sweet croissants, also known as cruasanes dulces, are made with a chocolate or sugar coating and the savory croissants, known as cruasanes salados, are made with a cheese topping. The sweet varieties have a filling of pastry cream, dulce de leche or dulce de membrillo, and the savory varieties have a filling of salami or ham.
  • Medialunas – These are a variation of the croissants and are usually big and made savory as well as sweet. They have a caramel topping and are usually eaten like a sandwich.
  • Margaritas – This is another type of croissant that is made by bringing two ends of the rolled out dough together, and the center is filled with a sweet filling The pastry has a sugar topping.  This pastry gets its name from the Spanish daisy known as “margarita”.
  • Vigilantes – These are thin and long types of croissants that have a sugar topping.
  • Galletas Dulces – This variation of Bizcocho has its roots in local bread called “galleta” (also known as galleta de campana or galleta con grasa). They have a topping of caramel and sugar.
  • Pan con Grasa – This variation too originates from another bread variety, called “canon”. They are made savory and are quite popular, along with the regular savory variety of croissants.
  • Ojitos – These are round cookies that have a center filling of dulce de membrillo.
  • Polvorones – This is another variety of cookie that contains cocoa; hence, it is also called polvorones de chocolate.
  • Biskotso – This is Philippine baked bread that has a topping of butter and sugar.
  • Costa Rican Bizcocho – This particular variety is made with spiced masa that also contains cheese. It is usually eaten as a snack along with coffee.
  • In Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Colombia, it refers to a sweet cake.

 

Trivia

Bizcocho is the term which is used for the various pastries and cookies of Latin American region. However, this name has other connotations and uses in various other cuisines.

  • It is the nickname of Otilio Warrington, a well-known entertainer.
  • This term is considered vulgar in Mexico.
  • In Colombia, Bizcocho means an older gentleman who is handsome.