Mexican

Big Game Michelada

The title pretty much says it all…

Happy Sunday and enjoy the big game!

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Mexican Orange Cookies

I recently came across an old article posted on the New York Times website which talks about the Psychology of Gift Giving. With Christmas only a few days away I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you today.

The main point of the article basically helped reiterate something we’ve known all along… It’s the act or thought of giving and not the gift itself that matters. It lets our friends and loved ones know they are important to us and that we care about them regardless of what the gift itself might be; which in turn makes us feel good.

A win-win situation if you ask me!

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One afternoon during my recent trip to Mexico, my mom went into the kitchen and pulled out a plastic bag from the pantry. She called me over and said: “Hijita… mira, ven. Esto es para ti.” (Little daughter… take a look, come here. This is for you.).

Inside the bag there was a wide assortment of clipped, handwritten, and typed recipes along with a notebook which contained recipes written by one of my aunts who used to run a hotel in the country, circa 1950. My aunt gave the notebook to my mom a few years after they decided to close the hotel and move to the city.

My mom later on added her own recipes to this notebook; she also tried to write down as many recipes as she could remember from dishes my grandmother used to prepare.

The plastic bag and it’s contents have now transferred ownership and although I have bittersweet feelings about said transaction I’m trying to embrace them.

This Prune Flan recipe didn’t make it into the famous notebook but I found it in the stack nonetheless, so I decided to give it a try.

Straight out of the archives

Ingredients

Prune Flan – Flan de Ciruelas

1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (100 g) pitted prunes
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

The flan will be baked in bain-marie (baño-maria) so you will need a 13 X 9 pan deep enough to hold your oven-proof flan dish.

Fancy Schmancy Mexican Copper Pot
In a heavy bottomed saucepan or cool Mexican Copper Pan melt sugar until it turns a golden amber color. Remove the pan from heat and pour caramel into the oven-proof flan dish, then quickly drizzle the vanilla over the caramel and swirl around in dish, as much as possible.

Caramel coated flan dish
Set the dish inside the 13 X 9 pan. Carefully add 2-3 cups of water to the pan making sure not to get any water onto the dish coated with caramel.

In a blender add the pitted prunes followed by the remaining ingredients. Blend on low speed for about 1 minute then increase speed to medium-high for an additional minute.

Prune Flan in baine-marie
Pour the flan base into the dish lined caramel and bake for 30 minutes or until the flan is set. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and remove the baking dish from the pan. Let the flan rest for at least 20 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Prune Flan - Flan de Ciruela

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I have to say I’m still not quite comfortable working with yeast, I find it a bit intimidating… I’m not sure why.

This weekend however, feeling inspired from my recent trip to Mexico, I was determined to tackle my fear of yeast and make some Mexican sweet bread for you. I chose “Conchas” or Shells.

I also wanted to share with you something else, my mom sent me home with a few of her kitchen treasures from Mexico, here’s treasure number one:

Kitchen Treasures
Have you ever seen one of these before? Doesn’t it look like it just came out of the “Sales Resistance” episode of “I Love Lucy”? :)

Mexican Shells – Conchas

Makes 12 large or 24 small rolls

30 g yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 3/4 cups (600) g flour
1/4 cup (50 g) shortening
1/2 cup (100 g) butter
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water
7 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place yeast and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar in the warm water, stir to combine and let it rest until it blooms. Once the yeast has bloomed, combine it with 150 g of flour then kneed until a dough has form. Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine the dough, with the remaining ingredients, beat on medium-hight speed for 5-7 minutes until well combined.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Cover stand mixer with a plastic bag and let dough rest for 4-6 hours until dough has doubled in size. Once dough has rested you can form dough balls or place dough in refrigerator overnight.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, (dough will be slightly sticky) form balls and place over 2 lined cookie sheets making sure to leave room between each one. Let the dough rest again until they have grown and have soften.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Shell Topping

3/4 cup (100) g flour
1/2 cup (100) g granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) Shortening
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 egg yolks

Blend ingredients with a pastry blender until it forms a paste.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Roll out rounds into a “tortilla”, make slight cuts with a knife to form shells. Place over the dough balls. Brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
Place cookie sheets on lower rack and bake until a base has formed, transfer to 1 rack higher than the center of the oven until they have started to brown. Bake for 15-20 minutes

Chocolate Shells - Conchas de Chocolate
I couldn’t help not taking a couple of bites out of one as they came out of the oven…

Chocolate Mexican Shells - Conchas

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Caffeine Spiked Tres Leches Cake

This past weekend we were invited to a surprise bithday party for a family member who is visitng from Australia.

Let me explain a little… the birthday boy who is a native Australian married my husbands niece a few years ago, they were living here in California until about six months ago, when he received a great job offer back in Australia, and he and his family decided to move back.

While here on vacation my niece decided to throw him a surprise birthday party and thanks to the Internet she was able to plan and organize the entire party while still in Austrlia.

Once she arrived in the US there were only a few loose strings she had to take care of. All in all the party was a HUGE success!

We weren’t planning on showing up to the party empty handed of course, and decided that dessert would be the perfect gift. Something he could enjoy right away and not worry about having to lugg back or pay excess luggage fees on.

OK, now take one good look at this pretty and innocent cake and be ready to experience it’s wrath. In it’s defense though, I will say it was SOOOOO worth it!

Here is a tiny glimps of what I had to clean up. It got so bad I had to stop whipping the eggs and cover my mixer with a towel until I finished beating them into submission.

Messy...
Coffee Three Milks Cake
from Dulce by Joseluis Flores

10 eggs
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons instant coffee
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup borghetti coffee liqueur

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
10 egg shells

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the eggs on high speed until they are thick and light in color, about 5 minutes. Continue beating and carefully pour sugar and instant coffee into the mixture. Beat for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture has tripled in volume.

Sift the flour into the egg and sugar mixture, fold to combine making sure you don’t stir or beat, to prevent the eggs from deflating.

Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and pour batter into the pan. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Cake is done when the cake springs back when lightly pressed, and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool, with a toothpick or skewer pierce the cake over the entire surface, this will allow the milks to be soaked in throughout the cake.

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Whisk the milks, heavy cream and coffee liqueur together. Pour slowly over the entire cake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed. The cake will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

1 cup heavy cream
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
8 ounces mascarpone cheese

Warm heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once warm remove from stove and pour chocolate chips, whisk until chocolate chips have melted and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Whip mascarpone on medium until soft peaks form, be carefull not to overwhip. Carefully fold the chilled heavy cream and chocolate mixture into the mascarpone.

Coffee Whipped Cream

1 teaspoon gelatine
2 tablespoons hot water
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coffee liquoure (such as Tia Maria)

Combine the hot water and gelatine, still well, and let it cool.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Pour cooled gelatine into the heavy cream mixture and whip to combine, then add the instant coffe powder, powdered sugar and coffee liquore. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Cake Assembly

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Carefully slice cake in half lengthwise place one slice over a serving platter. Pipe or with a spatula layer the chocolate mascarpone mousse over the top of the cake. Place the second layer of cake on top. With a spatula cover the cake with the coffee whipped cream.

Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Coffee Spiked Tres Leches Cake
Sorry I wasn’t able to take a better picture of the sliced cake, I quickly slid in to take the shot while it was being sliced.

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