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Posts from the ‘Custards, Puddings & Mousses’ Category

Natilla, Natilla, Natilla

IMG_8450This year I did a short series of Christmas posts for the Cooking Channel’s Devour on traditional holiday dishes served in Latin America.  This meant spending a lot of time speaking with friends’ parents asking them just how they made that thing I had at their house that one time.  One of my first calls was to my friend’s father Oscar Marin who generously gave me his recipe not only for the buñuelos Colombianos but the natilla con panela they serve with it.  I’ve always loved joining friends for their novenas but it wasn’t until I spoke to Oscar that I realized how lit up Colombian Christmas can be.  Jump here to read more. Read more

Almond-Orange Flan

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Whenever I turn out a successful flan, I always feel like I’ve gotten lucky.  Made with with relatively few ingredients, they should be simple but that’s not always the case.   I recently tried to make a Mexican flan imposible (part custard, part chocolate) that turned out to be – well – impossible.  This week, I was determined make this almond-orange flan for the Cooking Channel’s Devour the Blog dairy-free for Passover.  Making flan without my go-to cans (part condensed milk, part evaporated milk) was unnerving, but I had a feeling it would work out in the end.  I was due. Read more

Boniatillo

IMG_3199Deep in cookbook research the past few weeks, this boniatillo has been on deck for awhile.  Now that I’m (almost) ready to return to regular programming, I couldn’t go forward until I posted a favorite and final recipe from last year.  Boniatillo – boiled sweet potatoes cooked down with syrup, spiced with cinnamon and spiked with rum – is a simple kind of dessert that would be easy enough to make before the holidays.  Or so I thought. Read more

Flan de Coco

It’s always strange to me when I see flan listed as special on a dessert menu.  Far from specialized in Cuban restaurants, it’s not rare to find an all-flan menu – de leche, de queso, de calabaza, de mamey and of course – de coco.  Yet somehow I never get tired of it.  If it hadn’t been brought to the New World via Spain, Cubans would have had to invent it.  Most Latin American countries have their own version of this dessert and, while I can’t pretend to be neutral, in the case of flan I think it has to go to Cuba. For me it’s about the caramel.  Made directly in the mold, the sugar cooked long enough to go dark amber without becoming bitter (though personally I like it a little bitter).  I love the ritual of holding it just over the flame and watching it go clear then dark.  It can get away from you easily but it’s always fun to see how far you can take it.  Read more

Tembleque

While I may take it back in November, Easter is my favorite eating holiday.  With no menu set in stone, the variety of colors and texture from the markets jump on the plate and like Dorothy landing in Oz, someone, somewhere turns on the technicolor. While spring officially started weeks ago, the end of lent and celebration of Easter marks the time we’re officially allowed to enjoy it – unless that’s just my guilt talking. Read more

Como Arroz Para Leche

I was pretty immune to the award season fever that just passed, rooting for my favorites from the safe distance of the next day’s photo galleries and winner wrap ups on the Huffington Post.  I did watch the Oscar’s though (I may be disaffected but I’m not made of wood).  I know I’m probably alone in missing the endless montages in this year’s ceremonies but it was this one of great food movies posted by the Amateur Gourmet awhile back that had me thinking of Like Water for Chocolate. Read more

Mousse de Turrón

I’m not devoutly superstitious so I have no problem picking and choosing which New Year’s traditions to follow.  While 12 grapes at midnight are non-negotiable anywhere Spanish is spoken, for the rest of Latin America it’s pretty much an open field.  I’ve written wishes for the coming months (Venezuela) then throw them in the fire so no one could steal them.  Unfortunately, I forgot what I’d written before the paper had turned to ash, leaving me with unstarted resolutions.  If I lived in Honduras, I’d make an “Año Viejo” doll stuffed with fireworks to set off at midnight if I didn’t find effigies and fireworks equally frightening.  I’ve never thrown a bucket of water out of my window to rid myself of evil spirits (Puerto Rico), but a water pipe bursting a few years ago started off one of my favorite New Year’s nights and great year.  A Peruvian friend suggested I wander around the block with a suitcase if I wanted to travel in 2011, but I’ve had enough of packing bags and getting nowhere in the last few days.  Fortunately, everyone seems to be in agreement on an underwear color scheme for the occassion (red=love, green=money, yellow=luck, white=health).  I don’t know if it works, but at the very least it forces you to get your priorities straight before midnight. Read more

Pudín de Manzana

My grandmother used to say that there were always apples in Cuba.  I’m not sure what she meant but it was an argument-ender.  I thought of her when I came across an old Cuban recipe from the 1930s for apple pudding made with Bacardi rum.  Though apples aren’t native to the island, rum most definitely is.  I waited a few months to try it because, while we do always have apples in New York, I don’t always want them.  Out of season, they’re mostly texture and water.  Now that the markets are in full fall swing, I decided it was a good alternative to the pies and tarts I’ll be making once the holidays start.  Somewhere between a fallen souffle and bread pudding, I served it with lightly whipped cream though next time I might drizzle it with a caramel or rum sauce (for a little more authenticity). Read more

So Far, Yet So Near

I am always looking for the best ingredients, but there are some things I just can’t find nearby and some I probably shouldn’t be able to find nearby.  I try to stay local but the temptations of a jet-setting Prosciutto di Parma or a well traveled Chinatown dragon fruit can be difficult to resist.  Still, it’s hard not to wonder what your missing when someone else does the picking and packing.  The subtle differences between varieties and vendors that you can only discern when it’s close to home.  That’s why, when trying a new cuisine, dessert can be the best place to start.  I may not find the right Peruvian pepper or Argentinian zapallo, but milk, grains and sugar are universal and need little translation (or transatlantic travel).  I’d been looking for a Chilean recipes to try and found several I wanted to include but kept circling back to this custard made with semolina and wine syrup (wine being the exception that was meant to travel the earth). Read more

A Mother’s Day Meringue

Many people have a hard time imagining their parents as children, but I very much see my mother in the little girl pictured above — sweet, expressive and indistinguishable from the cake set before her, in essence if not in form.  Last year around this time, I asked my mother to show me how to make her merengue con crema de leche.  A combination of meringue and custard sauce, it’s similar to a French île flottante but much, much sweeter — Cuban sweet.  She always made it for special occasions, though never the same way twice.  Used to feeling her way around until she got it right, I distracted her with questions.  I tried to note everything down, but secretly believed she was making things up as she went along.  When I caught her consulting with her chihuahua about the consistency for the syrup, I knew we were in trouble. Read more

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