Hi everyone!
This weekend we finally saw the beautiful spring weather we have all been waiting for here in Minneapolis, and I hope you took advantage of it just as much as I did. This weekend a friend and I went to an amazing sushi bar, and made another batch of Tres Leches cake from last weeks post because we both loved it very much. My sister and I also hit up a few garage sales and estate sales where I picked up the tray that is used in the photos this week. It was an amazing deal and a great addition to my props box.
One more small announcement, I am throwing out monthly themes. I liked it at the beginning, but now I have so many recipes from different areas I want to try. It's just easier if I choose week by week.
Churros though, finish out the month of April's Traditional Mexican and Spanish Dessert theme. These wonderful little pastries were very good. They were perfect as a dessert and as a snack.




Churros

Based on a recipe from: Big Oven
Serves: 11


For Churro:
1 cup water 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Salt 1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large Eggs oil for deep frying
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

In a heavy saucepan, bring water, butter, and salt to a full boil. Remove from heat. Add the flour all at once, stirring briskly. Stir until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan and forms a ball. Put the mixture in a bowl. Whip an electric mixer on medium speed; add one egg at a time. After adding the last egg, beat the mixture for one minute.
In a separate bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Stir until combined, then set aside.

Heat 2-3 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a deep, heavy pan. Fit a pastry bag or cookie press with a 9 1/2 inch star tip. Pipe out 6 in long tubes of dough into the oil. Fry, turning a few times, for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain the churros well on paper towels and roll them in the sugar mixture. Eat same day.




For this week I decided to go with a common favorite: Tres Leches Cake. Mostly because I have heard so much about it, but have never really tried it, and I wanted to see what all the excitement was about.

Pastel de Tres Leches

From: allrecipes.com
Serves 12

For the Cake:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and grease a 10x15-inch baking dish.
Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form; gradually beat in sugar until mixture is glossy. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, combining each yolk before adding the next. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, to the mixture, beating continuously; beat in baking powder, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cake cool for 15 minutes.

For Leche Mixture:
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

Pour 1 cup cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk in a blender and pulse several times until well blended. Pour three-milk mixture evenly over the cake. Refrigerate cake until cold and the milk mixture has soaked in, at least 1 hour.

For Garnish:
1 cup whipped cream (optional)
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (optional)

Before serving, cut cake and top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a few sliced strawberries. Refrigerate leftovers and be sure to cover.


Overall, this moist cake is extremely sweet and very, very good.


Until next week!

Hi all! As you all know this month's theme, traditional Mexican desserts, was inspired by the wonderful chefs I met during my trip to Mexico. In fact, it is their recipes that I am basing mine off of now. I would love to make the recipes exactly the way they did, but we don't carry all the same products they used here in the USA. That, and many of the recipes they gave me were simply a list of ingredients, but no complaints there. I enjoyed fooling around in the kitchen making up my own steps.

Also I have been thinking about calling up some different bakeries to see if I could get a part-time job there for this summer. Now I know it's probably a long shot, but it wouldn't hurt to give a few local bakeries a call.

Another thing. My birthday came around last Wednesday and for it, I got Adobe Lightroom 4! I was extremely excited to start using it, but then our main computer crashed. This would unfortunately happen to be where all my photo viewing software is too, so there is no way I can get photos to you now, but they are coming soon!

So this week is key-lime pie. This dessert was served to us on the first night we got into Mexico, and it really stood out to me. The crust was extremely different than what you usually see in a key-lime pie. It was almost gelatinous in its consistency and was very sweet. I instantly fell head over heels for it, making it what I wanted to recreate most back in my kitchen. So, here you have it...




Key-Lime Pie 

Based on the recipe from Chef Louis at Casa Gordon
Serves: 8

For the crust:
1 cup crushed vanilla biscuit cookie
100 ml milk
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Evenly spread mixture on the bottom of a 9" pie plate. Bake for about 15 min, or until the crust is slightly puffing upwards.
Cool completely.


For the Pie Filling: 
3 cups condensed milk
1cup lime fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
1 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2/3 cup half and half
15g gelatin
2 tablespoons water

Keeping oven at 350 degrees F, place water in a small dish and sprinkle over gelatin. Let stand for 5 min. Bring half and half to a simmer, add in the gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool. Combine condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and the cooled half and half mixture into a large bowl. Stir until combined. Pour mixture into pie plate over the now cool crust. Bake just until the pie is set. (About 5 to 8 min.)
Cool completely.

For the Meringue: 
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
A small drizzle of lime juice

Keep the oven at 350 degrees F. Whip egg whites with a handheld beater. Once the whites start to get frothy, slowly add sugar and cream of tartar as you whip. Continue to whip until medium peaks form. Quickly fold in the lime juice and add the meringue to the top of the now cooled pie. To add, place meringue in a circle around the edge, the smooth it with an offset spatula until it just touches the edge of the pie plate. Place the remaining meringue in the center, creating a large mound. Smooth with spatula. * Place in the oven and bake until the top of the meringue is a medium brown. (About 15 to 20 min)

*If you want peaks, take the back of a spoon, set it on the meringue and pull up.






One thing that I did on my trip to Mexico was to go back and watch the pastry chef there at work. The kitchen was clearly a well oiled machine, and everyone knew what they were doing. The Head Chef Louis showed me what they were doing by making one of the flans, and then had me make the next one. I loved being in the kitchen and working with the team.
This Sunday was really busy, so I didn't have time to make this recipe again. But I did snap a pic of it on my vacation, so I will be able to show you the final result.

Flan

Recipe by: Louis, Head Chef at Casa Gordon
Serves: 7

For Topping:
Sugar (enough to melt in the bottom of an 9" round pan.)

Melt the sugar until golden brown in a 9" round pan, swirling to coat the entire bottom. Once the sugar is fully melted remove from heat and set aside.

For the Flan:
7 eggs
397g condensed milk
387g evaporated milk
1 cup regular milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla

Put all the ingredients together in a blender. Blend on high for 1 min. Pour flan into the pan with the melted sugar bottom and cover with tin foil.

To bake:
Place a ceramic tile on the bottom of a large pan. Stack a folded a paper towel on the tile, then another tile on the paper towel. Repeat until there are four tiles. Place the 9"round pan on top of the tiles. Fill the large pan with water, just covering all four tiles. Cover the whole pan with tinfoil.
Place the pot on the stove under high heat. Once you hear the mixture popping and boiling, turn it down to low and cook for 1 hour.
Once the flan is done, take the pan out and let it cool before inverting it onto a serving platter.





So as you know I just got back from my trip to Mexico, and that led to me not making anything for two weeks.
Although, the house we were staying at was called Casa Gordon, and they had a team of chefs in the kitchen. They allowed me to come in and watch them make beautiful desserts that were then rolled out of the kitchen for us to eat. They showed me traditional Mexican ways to create certain desserts we all know. I took pictures of recipes in their cookbook that they had created, and I'm currently working on translating them. So that leads to April's theme: Traditional Mexican Desserts! I am very excited to try their different ways of baking, and am even more excited to share it all with you.
But, in the mean time, here is a run-down in pictures and captions of what I did on my trip:



This was Casa Gordon, the beautiful house we rented with two other families.




We visited the Mayan ruins in Tulum.

My sisters and I para sailed, and it was an amazing experience I can now cross off my list of things to do!