Simple Desserts to compliment Tex-Mex dinner?
- ideabaker Feb 7, 2009 08:06 AM
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!
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...
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!
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.
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?
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: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...
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.
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?
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 :-).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Passadumkeg, I always appreciate your advice. Though I don't care for chocolate, myself, I think your idea of tje Mexican boscottis with the hot chocolate sounds incredible... My ''test kitchen" will include a rendition of this (as I practice elements of this meal), because it just sings of harmonic deliciousness,,,, thank you!
Tres Leches Cake? Following is a recipe I inherited from my mom - I have tried it and it has been a hit at parties. There is nothing "gourmet" about this recipe but it is a great finish to a meal.
*** T R E S L E C H E S C A K E ***
2 Cups Hot cake Mix (Duncan Hines)
1 Cup Oil
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp baking powder
1 can evaporated milk (Carnation 12 oz)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can media crema (found in the Mexican food section)
Cinnamon to taste
Pecans or Almonds to taste , crushed
FOR THE CAKE:
To the blender add:
*Eggs *Oil *Sugar (= Wet Ingredients)
To the “Wet Ingredients” add:
*Sifted dry ingredients until well mixed
30 minutes at 350 degrees in a large rectangular pan
FOR THE LECHES:
To the blender add:
*The three cans of milk and blend
When the cake is done poke holes while warm and pour the “Leches” over the cake and refrigerate.
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 4 oz Box of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup Milk
1 container Cool Whip
Add all ingredients in a bowl and whip until firm and frosting-like.
1. Frost cake after cooled, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, crushed nuts and dot with cherries
As an afterthought - I don't know if you have access to any Latino markets in your area but you might be able to find a nice flan, gelatina mosaico or tres leches cake - don't fret too much. Hopefully your serving Margaritas and trust me everthing will be WONDERFUL.
Following is a recipe for flan from Golandrina's on Olvera Street in Los Angeles.
It was posted in the LA times this week and I though I would pass along. I have enjoyed this dessert before - it is really good.
La Golondrina Cafe's flan
Total time: About 2 1/2 hours, plus chilling time for the flan
Note: Adapted from La Golondrina Cafe. The restaurant serves its flan with a sprinkling of dried cranberries, toasted pecans, whipped cream and an optional strawberry sauce.
3/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1 orange, about 1/2 cup
2 1/2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
1 1/2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon amaretto
1 tablespoon vanilla
1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the sugar with the orange juice and one-fourth cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to cook until the sugar caramelizes and turns an amber color, then remove from the heat and immediately pour into a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish and allow to cool to room temperature.
2. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, then whisk in the condensed, evaporated and regular milks. Whisk in the amaretto and vanilla, and then pour the flan base into the baking dish.
3. Place the dish inside a large roasting pan (the roasting pan must be big enough so that there is a 1-inch clearance on all sides) and fill it with enough hot water so that it comes halfway up the side of the glass baking dish. Place the pan in the oven and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until a knife inserted near the center of the flan comes out clean. Remove the flan from the water bath and allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator, loosely covered, to chill until cold, preferably overnight. Invert onto a platter and serve immediately.
Each serving: 327 calories; 11 grams protein; 47 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 11 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 121 mg. cholesterol; 152 mg. sodium.