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Feb 7, 2009 08:06 AM

Simple Desserts to compliment Tex-Mex dinner?

Hello, all; I am in the process of putting together a Tex-Mex dinner party menu. Please let me preface this with the fact that I lived in TX for twenty years, however, due to dietary restrictions, I was not raised a dessert eater.

Now I am living in colder climes (outside of Texas) my guests will expect some kind of dessert. Normally (in hotter weather) I would compose a fruit dish with sorbet or home-made whipped cream. The super-cold winter we are having demands something with a bit more substance, and preferably warmth. I would like to present a dessert that will be hearty, yet elegant, tasty, and simple-to-assemble which will follow up a rustic chicken enchilada (with homemade corn tortillas) main meal.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I am drawing a complete blank as I don't have much experience with desserts in general.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. Flan ... individual ramekins, of course.

    7 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Is Flan easy to make? Can it be made ahead of time? Is there anything unique that could be done with them (I have the ramekins) that would make them extra special? (Orange essence, Vanilla Bean innards?). Sorry there are so many questions, I just out of my league at the moment with desserts...

      1. re: ideabaker

        vanilla bean, yum. it's generally served cold, so I don't know if it meets your requirements.

        1. re: jaykayen

          Jaykayen, am rethinking the "cold serving dessert" thing... it couldn't be as cold as ice cream or sorbet, and might lighten up a hot enchilada dish at the end of an evening. Now you have me thinking very much about how to use my Tahitian Vanilla Beans in a memorable dessert to go with the Tex-Mex meal. Just need to learn how to make Flan... soon. Thank you very much!

          1. re: ideabaker

            To use vanilla, scrape the pods and throw the seeds and pod into your milk. Heat it on high just up to a boil, turn off the heat, and let it infuse for 30 minutes. Repeat. Then you can strain it out and use any flan recipe. You can make flan a day before, or the morning of, so it has time to chill out in the fridge. You can take them out of the fridge like an hour or so before dessert so that the refrigerator edge wears off.

            1. re: jaykayen

              Jakayen, thank you for that detailed information- which I need! I think a vanilla or citrusy infused Flan would be a wonderful end to a hearty Mexican (Tex-Mex, actually) meal. I'm going to try it! Just one more (not sophisticated) question... how do I know when the Flan is the right consistency? Is there a "basic foolproof recipe" for Flan that I can start with?

              1. re: ideabaker

                I put it in the oven in a water bath. If you will leave the flan in the ramekins instead of inverting onto a plate, you should put an oven proof lid or Al foil on top so they don't form a skin. This is not important if you will invert. When they're done, they will be set on the edges, but still jiggly in the center. This will firm up in the fridge. But if you've overcooked it a little and it's all firm, that is ok, too.

                There are many flan recipes, and honestly, they're all quite forgiving and foolproof. The technique is generally the same, so you can use any good recipe, and I will give you my ingredients list, which will be for 6 people:
                For the custard:
                1.5 C whole milk
                1 C heavy cream, which steeps with the milk and vanilla.
                2 vanilla beans (other recipes will use half or one...don't skimp, use two, and people who don't like or understand vanilla will finally get it)
                6 egg yolks
                6 T sugar

                For the caramel:
                1 cup white sugar
                1/4 cup water
                Most important to be patient, and don't try to rush it. If you've never made caramel before, use medium heat. When it starts to color, don't take your eyes off. It should be amber golden. A newbie mistake is to burn the caramel.

                This will be a richer flan than recipes that just use milk; I like it a lot, but its sort of creme brulee-like. You can use just milk if you want.

                This is a good recipe that has the technique steps:

                1. re: jaykayen

                  Jaykayen, thanks again, particularly for the detailed instructions... they are SO helpful. And the link is priceless, When I make my first Flan (must practice it a bit) I will report back, thanks to you!

    2. How about making a few extra corn tortills, frying them into corn chips, and tossing them in cinnamon sugar straight out of the oil. serve with a little very rich hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon and cayenne. Spiced bananas would also be nice (make a caramel with vanilla bean and cinnamon, deglaze with a touch of water, then dark rum to loosen, pour over peeled bananas halved length-wise. Allow to steep for a few hours, then warm the syrup (and possible reduce) and serve with the chips, or ice cream, or both. I could go on, but those are pretty simple and easily done ahead.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LeroyT

        I like the "do ahead" aspect, is it really that easy (sounds kind of labor intensive, but then, my desserts are usually ridiculously simple)? Should the bananas be yellow, or with some flecks of black (for ripeness and sweetness)?

      2. Flan sounds good. Just to through out another idea, I immediately thought of chocolate and cinnamon. Maybe something like this

        3 Replies
        1. re: lizzy

          I love the idea of the chocolate and cinnamon, especially with the Kahlua on top. (Sounds pretty darned tasty, even for a non-dessert-eating type.) The idea of serving it in bowls doesn't sound so elegant, do you think that serving it up in individual ramekins would work? Maybe with a bit of powdered cocoa sprinkled on top?

          1. re: ideabaker

            I think you could serve it in individual ramekins or you might think about serving it in wine or martini glasses. I think either cocoa and/or cinnamon sprinkled on top would look great. I think this would be an easy make ahead dessert.

            1. re: lizzy

              And I really like the idea of serving them in cocktail glasses, much more elegant and using the same ingredients! Thanks for that wonderful idea! I would chill the glasses before filling, and again after filling before serving as the recipe requires... am thinking I need an extra fridge :-).

        2. Champurrado - it's Mexican Hot Chocolate, thickened slightly with masa. Other Atoles are great too such as Strawberry.

          1/2 cup Masa Harina para tamales
          5 cups Cream
          4 tablespoons brown or piloncillo sugar
          1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
          2 large dark chocolate candy bars, chopped fine
          1 teaspoon vanilla extract

          Put the Masa Harina in a bowl and whisk in the milk, little by little. Pour the milk mixture into a pot and add the sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and add the chocolate slowly so it melts into the cream. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to keep it from becoming lumpy. Stir in the vanilla extract. Serve in mugs.

          2 Replies
          1. re: KiltedCook

            KiltedCook, this sounds SO delicious, especially for a cold day... would it be considered a "dessert" on its own, or would I still have to accompany it with a "real" dessert (whatever that means)? Sounds like it would go great alongside some of the chocolatey desserts suggested by other posters.

            Plus, I have a whole bag of Masa Harina Para Tamales that I accidentally bought, thinking it was regular Maseca Corn Masa... am intrigued by this and will find a time and place to serve whether with this meal or another... thank you!

            1. re: ideabaker

              I've often served it as a dessert at dinner parties (I'm a Personal Chef) and I've done it with a piece or two of wrapped chocolate on the saucer. Another thing I'll do is keep adding masa until it thickens almost into a "champurrado brownie"; put into ramekins; chill; and then top with a dollop of whipped cream before serving.

          2. Rick Bayless has a good recipe for Mexican chocolate flan. I find his recipes to be among the clearest written. You can do in individual ramekins. The cinnamon and chocolate will already be in the Mexican chocolate you buy (and most likely almonds as well). I have made it for years and it is always a hit. You can make a day or two before. I think the recipe is in: Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. Probably available at your local bookstore or possibly even in the library. Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe on me right now.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PAO

              I will search for this chocolate flan. I hope it isn't difficult to make, but I love the "make-ahead" aspect of it. People seem to like chocolate quite a lot for dessert and I think that it would especially compliment a hearty Tex-Mex dish... plus I haven't eaten a Rick Bayless dish that ever disappointed. Thank you for your suggestion.