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Dessert


ALISA’S MARBLED POUND CAKE
Panque marmoleado de Alisa
1 10-inch loaf

INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound unsalted butter, plus more to butter the pan
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

TO PREPARE
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until well combined and fluffy, another 2 minutes. Pour in the vanilla and continue beating until well incorporated and smooth, about another minute.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Break the eggs into another bowl. Add half of the eggs and half of the sifted flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating on medium-low speed until well combined, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour.

Add the sour cream and continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Set the batter aside. In a small bowl, combine the hot water with the cocoa powder.

Pour half the cake batter into another bowl and fold in the cocoa-water mixture with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed.

Spread the “white” batter from the mixer bowl in the bottom of the loaf pan. Pour the chocolate batter on top, in a straight line down the center. Make a design with a knife or fork, so it will look “marbled.”

Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Invert the cooled cake onto a plate, remove the parchment paper, and invert again onto another plate.

Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar, and it is ready to slice. To store, keep it covered.


TRES LECHES CAKE
Pastel de tres leches
Serves 10 to 12

INGREDIENTS
Cake Ingredients:
9 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Sauce Ingredients:
1 14oz can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

TO PREPARE
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Butter a 9×13-inch pan, lining the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the pan.

Pour the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer and beat on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they hold soft peaks. Slowly stir in the sugar and continue beating until they hold harder or stiffer peaks. Turn off the mixer and, with a spatula, move the egg white mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Rinse the mixer bowl and its whisk. Now, pour the egg yolks into the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the yolks become creamy and puffy and their color has toned down to an almost cream color rather than a loud yellow. Stir in the vanilla and continue beating for another minute.

Pour the egg yolk mixture onto the egg white mixture and, with a spatula, in circular motions, combine them into a homogeneous single batter. Do so gently, trying not to lose too much volume gained from beaten egg whites. Fold in the flour, scraping the bowl with the spatula so that all the flour is well mixed.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and place into the oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. It can be a bit moist, but not wet. The top of the cake should be tanned or golden brown.

Once it cools down, turn it onto a platter. Remove parchment paper, cover the top with an upside-down platter and invert again. The platter should be large enough to hold the cake and the vanilla sauce you are about to prepare. Using a fork, or two, poke holes all over the cake so that it will better absorb the vanilla sauce.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour the vanilla sauce over the cake. It may appear like too much sauce, but it will all be absorbed!

In the bowl of your mixer, whip up the heavy cream with the confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture holds up stiff peaks. Spread the whipped cream all over the already-wet cake and place it in the refrigerator. You can decorate the cake with berries or any other topping of your choice.


CHOCOLATE AND DULCE DE LECHE (CAJETA) CUPCAKES
Recipe from my sister Alisa Romano
Cupcakes de chocolate con cajeta
Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
Cupcake ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
3/4 cup La Lechera dulce de leche or cajeta

Ganache ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
14 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

TO PREPARE
To prepare the cupcakes:
Place oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the cupcake molds.

In the mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix it up and add it to the butter mixture. Pour the buttermilk and continue beating. In a small bowl, combine hot water and cocoa powder and stir into the mix, beat until combined. Pour the batter into the cupcake molds.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cupcakes rise, are cooked and tanned on top. Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Using a paring knife, cut a 1-inch piece from the top of each cupcake. Save the cut pieces. Fill each hole with one tablespoon of dulce de leche or cajeta and replace the cut-out pieces. Top the cupcakes with the chocolate ganache.

To prepare the ganache:
Mash the butter until it’s creamy and has no lumps. Heat the chopped chocolate in a double boiler water bath and let it melt. Warm the heavy whipping cream slightly

Slowly fold the whipping cream into the melted chocolate. Finish off the ganache by folding in the softened butter and adding sugar until everything is well combined.


Juju’s Birthday Cake
Pastel de chocolate de Juju

Serves: 10 to 12 non-hungry people

Ingredients

For the cake:

1 cup water

2/3 cup cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup sprinkles, optional

To Prepare

To prepare the cake: Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan with butter. Cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, over medium heat, pour the water, stir in the cocoa and add the butter. Let it heat for a few minutes, stirring now and then, until it all dissolves. Remove the pot from the heat.

In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another, beat the eggs and combine them with the sour cream.

In turns, add a quarter of the flour mix and then a quarter of the sour cream mix at a time into the pot with the cocoa mixture; stir with a spatula, mixing all of the ingredients as you move along. Pour onto the greased cake pan and place in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out barely moist but not wet.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool a bit while you prepare the frosting.

To prepare the frosting: In a saucepan, over medium heat, pour in the milk and the vanilla. Stir in the cocoa and add the butter. Heat and stir until everything is all dissolved and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar. Thoroughly mix with a spatula and set aside.

To assemble: Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the cake. Turn the cake onto a platter and gently remove the parchment paper. Pour the still-warm frosting over the cake and gently spread it out with a spatula. If you wish, you may add sprinkles of your choice before the frosting hardens (NOTE: The cake is soft and moist the first couple days, then hardens like a brownie afterwards if left uncovered-- perfect for packing in school lunches).

© 2010-2014 MEXICAN TABLE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.patismexicantable.com/2012/09/jujus_birthday_cake/


CAJETA CRÊPES WITH TOASTED PECANS
Crepas de cajeta con nuez

INGREDIENTS
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
Pinch kosher or sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
Extra butter to oil the pan
2 cups cajeta or La Lechera dulce de leche
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon rum, optional
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted, to garnish
Vanilla ice cream, optional

TO PREPARE
To make the Crepes: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until it melts. Set it aside. Place flour, eggs, milk, sugar, salt and melted butter in the blender and purée until smooth, for about 10 seconds. Add water and blend again until smooth. You can also mix the ingredients by hand, following the same order.

Place batter in a container, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour, up to 12 hours. Once ready to make the crêpes, whisk the batter well with a fork or a whisk.

Set a crêpe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Butter the bottom of the pan and ladle about ¼ cup of batter onto it. Instead of working from the center to the sides, tilt the pan and pour the batter over one side and spread it as quickly as possible to the rest of the pan, so that it covers the entire surface.

Cook for about 20 to 25 seconds, until edges are cooked and begin to dry out and the bottom of the crêpe is lightly browned. With a small spatula or fork, lift one edge of the crêpe and turn it over quickly with your fingers. Cook the second side for about 10 to 15 seconds, or until it has lightly browned. Flip the crêpe onto a plate.

Repeat with the rest of the batter. After 3 or 4 crêpes, you may need to butter the pan again. If it isn’t a nonstick pan, you may need to do it for every one. Stack crêpes on top of each other with the first, darker side down. That darker side will become the outer layer of the crêpe once you fill them up or fold them.

If you aren’t going to use all of the crêpes at once, or if you are making them ahead of time, wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a closed plastic bag and store in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer for weeks.

To make the Sauce:
Pour the cajeta and the milk in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring and gently simmering it for a couple of minutes until it is completely mixed together and well dissolved.

To Assemble:
Place a crêpe on a plate and spread a couple tablespoons cajeta sauce all over the surface. Fold crêpe in half, add a couple more tablespoons of sauce into the middle of the half-moon shape. Fold the crêpe again to make a triangle shape (with a rounded bottom) and pour a few more tablespoons of sauce on top.

Garnish with the toasted pecans and serve. You may want to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream too…


December 21, 2011
bunuelos
When I was about 10 years old, my parents developed a habit of traveling during the December holidays without my sisters and I. Don’t ask me why they thought it was a good idea.
It was an awful, terrible, horrible idea.

The sweet highlight was that our babysitter Sari, whom we call Nana Tochito and who came from the mountainous regions of Oaxaca, prepared a full blown Christmas style meal to spoil and help us celebrate the holidays. No, we didn’t have the tree like our friends in school. But, thanks to my Nana we couldn’t care less. We exchanged gifts, ate lots of gelt, had the traditional big roasted turkey, drank ponche, and what we loved the most, ate buñuelos.

Mostly found around Christmas and New Year’s, buñuelos speak of nothing but celebration. And truly, what one has to celebrate is being lucky enough to find buñuelos at markets, fairs and street stands or having the time, patience and a reliable recipe to make them at home.

Buñuelos may be one of the most high maintenance treats one can make: but to cut to the chase, they are completely worth it.

Now with that said, you can skip to the end where I give you my most reliable recipe or read a bit more about why I – and everyone in Mexico- love them so, including their demanding and time consuming nature…

Continue reading Buñuelos: High Maintenance, But So Worth It!


December 6, 2011
I had such a nice time personalizing the Scribble cookies for the Today Show crew, rolling out the Anise Seed Ropes, and making the gooey dough for the Piggies with Al Roker on the Today Show. 

Here is a clip of the cooking segment, where we made the three different cookie recipes: the playful Piloncillo Piggies, the elegant Anise Seed Ropes and the fun chocolaty Scribbles. 

Click here, to get the full recipes

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


BLACKBERRY AND PECAN TAMALES
Tamales de Zarzamora y Nuez
Makes about 20 tamales

INGREDIENTS
25 dried corn husks
1 cup vegetable shortening or good quality lard
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp cold water
1 tsp baking powder
1 lb instant corn masa mixfor tamales, or about 3 1/4 cups, such as Maseca
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
12 oz blackberries, rinsed

TO PREPARE
To make masa for tamales:
Place the vegetable shortening or lard with 1 tablespoon of cold water in a mixer and beat, until very light and spongy, about 1 minute. Add the baking powder and salt, and then take turns adding the instant corn masa mix and the water. Continue beating until the dough is homogeneous and fluffy.

Mix in the sugar and cinnamon and continue beating until everything is well mixed. You may also do it by hand.

You know the tamal masa is ready if:
1. When you lift a big spoon with masa, drop it into the dough it falls “de golpe” or heavy.
2. It has the consistency of a medium thick cake batter.
3. If you place 1/2 teaspoon of masa in a cup of cold water and it floats.

To prepare the steamer:
Place water in the pan of a steamer and bring it to a simmer. Line the steamer with one or two layers of corn husks. Use the dough to form about 20 corn husk wrapped tamales.

To make tamales:
Soak the dried corn husks in hot water for a couple of minutes, until they are pliable and drain. Lay out a corn husk with the tapered ends facing towards you. Spread 3 to 4 tablespoons of the masa into a 2 to 3 inch square, the layer should be about 1/4 inch, leaving a boarder of at least 1/2 inch on the sides. Place 1 to 2 blackberries in the middle of the masa filling and sprinkle about a teaspoon of the pecans on top.

Pick up the two long sides of the corn husk and bring them together, causing the masa to surround the berries and pecans and fold them to one side, rolling them in the same direction around the tamal. Fold up the empty section of the husk with the tapering end, from the bottom up. This will form a closed bottom and the top will be left open.

Prepare the tamales and then place them vertically in a container. When you have them all ready, place them as vertically as you can in the prepared steamer, with the open end on top. If there is space left in the steamer, tuck in more corn husks so the tamales will not dance around. Cover with more corn husks and steam, covered for 50 minutes to an hour over medium heat. You know the tamales are ready when the tamales come easily free from the husks.

Finished tamales will stay warm for about 1 to 2 hours in the steamer. They can be made ahead several days before and stored in the refrigerator, well wrapped. They can also be frozen for months. In either case, reheat in the steamer. For refrigerated tamales it will take about 15 minutes, and for frozen tamales about 45 minutes.


BAKED PLANTAINS
Plátanos Macho al Horno
Serves 2 to 4

INGREDIENTS
2 ripe plantains
Salt or sugar to taste

TO PREPARE
Preheat the grill to medium heat or the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut a few small slits into the sides of the unpeeled, ripe plantains with a knife, since the plantains will expand as they cook. Individually wrap each plantain in aluminum foil and place them on the grill or in the oven. Let them cook for about 45 to 50 minutes, until they are soft and cooked through.

You know they are ready when they feel extremely soft to the touch and the sugar of the plantain has begun to caramelize. Open the aluminum foil, make a slit in the plantains, sprinkle with salt and sugar and eat them up!


Orange and Almond Flan
Flan de Naranja y Almendra
Serves 12

INGREDIENTS
1 cup sugar for caramel
1 1/2 cups peeled and slivered almonds
3/4 cup sugar for flan
10 eggs
1 3/4 cups orange juice
Grated zest of an orange
2 tbsp quince liquor, or Grand Marnier, optional

TO PREPARE
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.

In a pan, heat the cup of sugar over low heat until it achieves the consistency of caramel. It takes a while, but don’t leave it unattended and move the pan as it begins to melt. Once it looks like caramel and is melted, decide how dark and strong you want the caramel to be. The lighter the color of the caramel, the lighter flavor. But be careful because if it gets too dark it can taste bitter and can burn quickly. Take it off the heat and pour it into the bottom of a flan or round tube mold or into 10 individual custard cups. Do so quickly, since caramel hardens fast.

Place the almonds and remaining sugar into the blender or food processor and finely grind. Add the orange juice, orange zest and blend. Add in the eggs and quince liquor or Grand Marnier and puree until combined. Pour the flan mixture on top of the hardened caramel in the molds.

Place the molds in a hot water bath in a deep baking pan. Make sure the water comes up to about half the height of the molds and that the water is very hot. Slide the baking pan with the molds into the oven. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a flan comes out clean. When ready, take them out of the oven, out of the water bath and allow to cool.

If flans will not be eaten on the same day, they can be covered and refrigerated, for up to a week. Before unmolding, you can place the molds in a container with very hot water for 5 to 10 seconds, so that the sugar will melt a bit, and help the flan come out. You can also run the tip of the knife around the rim of the flan. Then turn the flans onto a plate, but wait a bit until most caramel pours on top of each flan.


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