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July 14, 2014
lime pie

Not for nothing is there a saying that goes “as American as apple pie.” Pie in the US is American comfort food of the first order.

Pie in Mexico is pay.

Pay : a sweet taste of el sueño Americano, a bite of the ideal life en los Estados Unidos. Just like a milkshake, just like a Hollywood blockbuster, just like being able to wear a pair of laid-back Levi’s jeans.

In the 80s, when I was a tween like my son Sami is today, my school friends and I would go for a thick and tall slice of pay, right after watching an American blockbuster film. Which wasn’t often. Back then, you had to wait anywhere from a few months to a year for any of these movies to make their way down to Mexico, if they ever did.

Continue reading Así es mi Pay de Limón…Mexican Lime Pie


Caramelized Pecans

Caramelized Pecans
Nueces Garapiñadas

Serves: makes about 2 1/2 cups

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Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups pecans (you may use other nuts or peanuts as well)

To Prepare

In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add the sugar, water, vanilla and pecans. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, occasionally, as it heats. It will come to a simmer, continue to cook for about 6 to 8 minutes. The pecans will be entirely covered by the transparent liquid and there will be a strong simmer.

Suddenly, the mixture will appear as if completely covered in sand: grainy and you will think you have messed it up! You have not. Continue to cook, and that clumped up sugar will begin to melt and caramelize around the already hardened and covered pecans. Stir continuously and don’t let the pecans burn. Adjust the heat if need be. You should continue until you see no more white sugar, and it is all melted and caramel covered, about 10 minutes more.

Pour the mixture onto parchment paper. Separate the pecans as you do, using a wooden spoon, or help yourself with another wooden spoon, using them as extensions of your hands. The caramel dries fast, and you will want to have the individual hardened pecans, not many clumped up. Tough, nothing happens if a few clump up...

Once they have completely cooled and dried, you can store them at room temperature in a tight container.

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Mexican Chocolate Donuts

Mexican Chocolate DonutsDonas de Chocolate Mexicano Rellenas

Serves: makes 12 mini donuts or 8 pancakes

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Ingredients

1 cup milk

2 Mexican chocolate bars (each about 3 ounces), cut into large chunks

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

1 large egg

Special equipment, optional – Ebleskiver filled pancake pan

Fillings, La Lechera dulce de leche or cajeta, chocolate and hazelnut spread, jams or preserves

Confectioners' sugar (optional, for dusting)

To Prepare

In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium-low heat. Add chocolate chunks and stir occasionally until it has dissolved, a few minutes. Remove from heat and using a molinillo or whisk, emulsify or foam as much as you can. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients as well as the beaten egg and start to mix with a spatula. Slowly, pour the Mexican chocolate milk, mixing fast so the egg will not cook (!) if the milk is still hot. Continue to combine until you get an even and homogeneous batter, just a minute or so. You should have a shiny and a bit runny batter. Taste it: it’s so good! Let it sit for a few minutes, it will fluff up a bit, which is what you want.

Meanwhile, heat your special pan or skillet over low to medium-low heat until very hot, about 4 or 5 minutes. Butter the pan and spoon batter into each hole, about 3/4 of the way up each cup. Once you can move the balloons around (like when pancakes are ready to flip), but the batter in the center can still be runny, you can add a half a teaspoon of a filling of your choice. Cover with a bit more batter to fill the cups just a tad beyond the rim. Using two spoons or two wooden skewers, flip the donuts to the other side. Give them a minute or two and remove from the pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, (I always do!) and eat while hot.

If making normal pancakes, cook as regular pancakes. Heat the skillet over medium-low heat until very hot. Grease with unsalted butter and ladle batter into the pan. Flip once the top shows bubbles and the bottom is cooked enough to be released from the pan. Cook on the other side for a minute or two and serve. Add the fillings as toppings instead of as a filling.

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