We have a sweet tooth and try to indulge every chance we get, especially at weekends. A widespread Sunday morning ritual entails going out to get the paper (if it’s not delivered to your house) and then going to the panaderia to get some facturas for your mateor coffee.

Lots of masas secas in this panaderia

Most panaderias, or bakeries, make different kinds of bread, cakes, masa secas (butter cookies) and facturas. Those delicious pastries are distant cousins to the Danish pastries. There are many different types; some are baked and some are deep-fried, like the donas and bolas de fraile, and are sold by the dozen.

Facturas are filled with dulce de leche, crema pastelera (custard), dulce de membrillo (quince paste) and sometimes apple. Each type has its own name. So we have cañoncitos, which look like the barrel of a canon and are usually filled with dulce de leche. Or libritos, made with puff pastry and whose layers look like the pages of a book. The tortitas negras are little cakes covered in brown sugar. I adore churros with crema pastelera.

A tray of facturas

The origins of some types of facturas can be traced to the foods introduced by immigrants and which evolved into our facturas. For example, the Spaniards introduced churros and the French, the mil le-feuille, which we call milhojas and fill mainly with dulce de leche. Our bolas de fraile derive from the German Berliner Pfannkuchen (I think that’s why some people call them berlinesas).

When I was a child, I would only eat facturas with dulce de leche. But as I grew up, I began to enjoy the other types of pastries. Now, every time I go back to Argentina, I pay a visit to my parents’ local bakery to indulge in this sweet treat.


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About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.