Mar 10

Bittersweet Mexican Chocolate Flan

Chocolate Flan

Chocolate Flan

Are you in the mood for a rich, decadent, and delicious dessert? Does your mouth water at the thought of puddings or custards? If so, then you may like to try making a bittersweet Mexican chocolate flan. If you do not already know the deliciousness of enjoying a flan, you may wonder what it is. Flan is a dessert and it has been enjoyed around the world for centuries. It is a rich and creamy baked custard dish. It is one of the best desserts you can enjoy after eating a scrumptious Mexican meal or any other meal.

Recipe for Bittersweet Mexican Chocolate Flan

What You Need

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 drop lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated bittersweet chocolate
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 beaten eggs

How to Make It

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a small saucepan over a medium high heat add the sugar until the sugar begins to melt. Reduce the heat. Add a drop of lemon juice to the sugar to reduce hardening or crystallization. Do not stir the melting sugar and lemon juice while cooking for approximately 5 minutes. Rather swirl and lightly shake the pan to help distribute evenly while melting the sugar.

Pour the melted sugar into a flan mold or flan ring, a souffle dish, a tart pan or a pan with a removable bottom or even a standard pie pan depending on what you have to work with. You will need to ensure that the sides are approximately 2 inches deep to prevent spillovers. Swirl the pan in order to coat it well and then place it aside until needed.

Using a medium size saucepan over a low heat add the chocolate and stir while melting the chocolate. After melting chocolate, stir in cinnamon and then gradually add milk and then heat over a medium heat while stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Cook for approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside until needed.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then add to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into the pan on top of the sugar caramel mixture.

Place pan into a roasting pan and then place roasting pan on an oven rack. Pour water to approximately 1 inch in depth in the roasting pan so that the water surrounds the flan pan. Bake for approximately 40 to 50 minutes. After baking, remove pan from roasting pan and water and allow it to cool on a wire rack.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 6 or more hours before serving. To remove the flan from the pan, use a sharp knife to score around the outside edge of the pan.

To remove the flan from the pan, place a plate on top of the flan pan and then turn both completely over. The flan should be on the plate with the caramel on top of it and running down the sides. Drizzle any leftover caramel topping over the flan and then serve.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Mar 06

Not All Tacos Are Created Equal

Fish tacos with slaw, lemon zest and cilantro

Fish tacos with slaw, lemon zest and cilantro

Tacos were first introduced to most of the world by fast food restaurants. They were invariably made with fried corn tortillas and filled with limp shredded lettuce, a few pieces of onion and cheese, some fried, seasoned mystery meat and a squirt of the ubiquitous “taco sauce”, which was mostly vinegar, tomato and chili. These bore very little resemblance to the dish served in Mexico, but was really the Anglo version, originating in Texas.

In Mexico City, a taco is a simple, elegant dish. Oh, you can find the Tex-Mex version there, just like you can find chicken sold in a cardboard bucket by a man in a white suit.

A Taco del Ciudad, or City Taco, named for Mexico City, is a warm, soft corn tortilla, filled with cooked lightly seasoned meat, nothing else. Bowls of salsa are on the table. It is a skill to lift the taco in one hand, turn up the end, and roll the sides to keep the filling inside. A spoon or fork is held in the free hand, to apply sauce as you eat. The overfilled, dripping American version pales in comparison to the original.

Another favorite in Mexico is the pepino, or cucumber. Sure, they appear in salads and such. More are sold on the streets every day by enterprising kids than are sold to restaurants.

All over town in the summer, there are young entrepreneurs standing with carts filled with huge cucumbers and sometimes pineapples. For a couple of pesos, they pick a fruit from the pile, and, deftly wielding a machete almost as large as they are, remove the peel, then slice it quickly into quarters lengthwise, leaving about two inches at the bottom intact, held with a paper towel. They squeeze a whole lime over it, and then sprinkle it lightly with salt, then liberally with red pepper.

It sounds disgusting, right? Au contraire! On a hot summer day, it is as refreshing as a mug of ice water.

If you do not want to serve your guests whole cucumbers, try cutting them into long wedges (the cucumbers, not the guests) and arranging on a plate, then giving them a good squeeze of fresh lime, a touch of sea salt and a dose of cayenne.

For those times when you are stuck with fruits that have less than optimum flavor, try mixing

  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • pinch of sea salt

Mix well, and allow to sit for a bit, so the sugar dissolves. Mix again before serving. This may be used to toss fruit, or can be served at table in a pitcher. The white balsamic is sweet and fruity. The brown sugar is just enough to bring out the flavor in the fruit.

This makes an excellent dressing for a salad of cantaloupe and strawberries. Toss in just a little of the dressing, then top with a dollop of sour cream.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Feb 06

Mexican Cherry and Raisin Rice Pudding Recipe

Classic Mexican Desserts

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

Rich tasting, delicious desserts abound south of the border where a myriad cultures have come together to contribute their best ingredients and methods for creating the most incredible tasting foods possible.

Whether it is native foods such as the unique tasting sapote or imported ingredients from around the world, Mexican cuisine is replete with an impressive selection of sweet and satisfying desserts.

Visiting the Yucatan you will find a favorite dessert known as sapotes dulces which is a chilled creation made with sugar, rum, orange juice, and of course, sapotes.

Chocolate plays an important role in many sweet Mexican desserts and you will discover many recipes to experiment with. The ancient Mayans and Aztecs used chocolate for currency as well as in many different forms for making rich foods and drinks such as champurrado.

Champurrado is often enjoyed for dessert or early in the day for breakfast and this warm, thick drink features plenty of rich chocolate and is perfect for a cold, blustery day.

Alternatively, if you want a chilled, refreshing dessert for warmer days try a sorbet such as trio de pina, or pineapple three ways. This dessert combines slices of pineapple made crisp in the oven along with caramelized pieces of the fruit with a cold sorbet.

The sweet Mexican syrup known as cajeta uses sweetened, caramelized milk and it can be used to garnish many types of foods such as ice cream, cakes, and pastries, or it can be eaten all by itself.

Some other versatile desserts to consider include mousse and pudding which are both popular choices in Mexico. A simple rice pudding is a classic treat widely enjoyed that is not only easy to make but also filling and delicious. Capidotada, or Mexican bread pudding, made with ingredients including cinnamon sticks, sugar, and chopped nuts can be made in a variety of ways.

Mexican Cherry and Raisin Rice Pudding Recipe

What You Need

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 2 inch long cinnamon stick
  • 2 – 2 inch long pieces of orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup medium grain rice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

How to Make It

Add the water, cinnamon stick, orange zest, and salt to a large saucepan with a lid and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in the medium grain rice and then replace the lid. Cook the mixture for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove the cinnamon stick and pieces of orange zest and discard.

Add the milk and sugar to the pan. Simmer over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes or until it just starts to thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.

Remove from the heat and stir in the dried cherries and raisins and allow it to cool slightly so the mixture thickens more.

Serve the Mexican cherry and raisin rice pudding while still warm.

Serves 4.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Jan 13

Easy Mexican Meat Pies

Meat PieThere are many different ingredients that can be used when preparing authentic Mexican food. Focus on colors, provided by different vegetables used in the recipes. Never hesitate to serve some of the ingredients in Mexican recipes on the side. Minced onion, sliced jalapenos, and diced tomatoes are a few traditional ingredients that can be placed in separate dishes so your family can add as much as they want to their plate.

Build-it-yourself green salads are a hit with south-of-the -border dishes. Fresh vegetables make salad dressing an option, so set out two varieties of favorite dressings. Besides shredded iceberg lettuce, put some of these salad builders in separate dishes for easy serving.

Make Your Own Salad Items:

  • Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
  • Black and Green Olives
  • Yellow Corn, drained
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Red, Green, and Yellow Peppers, thinly sliced
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Sliced Avocado

Mexican Slightly Spicy Meat Pie

When thinking of Mexican food, quick and easy items such as burritos, tacos, and tostadas come to mind. There are times when something a bit more filling is desired, but there is not enough time to make an ornate dish, such as tamale pie or enchiladas. For something a little different, prepare a meat pie with a hint of heat. The Mexican Slightly Spicy Meat Pie makes 6 to 8 servings.

What You Need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons snipped parsley
  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 2 12-ounce cans Mexican style whole-kernel corn

Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, and sour cream are great additions to this dish. Place these add-ons in small, colorful bowls on the table.

How To Make It:

Place the ground beef, ground ham, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and Tabasco sauce in a large bowl. Use a large two-tined fork to mix well.

Grease the inside of a 10-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil. Put the meat mixture in. Build sides with the mix that are 2 inches thick. The bottom should be 1/2 inches thick. Use the rest of the mix to make ropes across the pie dish, starting across the center and working your way towards the edges. Cover with a dishcloth and place in refrigerator for a minimum of one hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drain liquid. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes. Remove and drain again. Set dish on counter.

Open the cans of corn and drain well. Put the corn into a small glass or plastic dish and heat corn in microwave (about 2 minutes). Heap the corn towards the center of the meat pie.

Cut into wedges and serve.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Jan 06

Stuffed Pork Mexican Style

Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin

Cooking for one or two people is not much of a challenge for fans of authentic Mexican food recipes, but what about cooking for ten or twelve people? The following stuffed pork recipe is one of the best reasons to fire up your grill.

This amazing dish cooks to perfection on there and, if you make this, you will have enough food for twelve people. You can double the recipe for a larger group but you will need double the ingredients (and a bigger grill!)

When the weather is good and you feel like inviting some friends over, the smell of a pork tenderloin cooking on your grill is sure to make their mouths water in anticipation. This recipe is really flavorful and all the ingredients, even though there are quite a lot of different ones, are easy to obtain.

Stuffed Pork Mexican Style

What You Need:

  • 2 1/4 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons hot chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 cloves smashed garlic
  • 4 teaspoons crushed coriander seeds
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup chopped white onions
  • 3/4 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped carrots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup cooked barley
  • 6 oz white wine
  • 6 tablespoons red bell pepper
  • 1 oz cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils (brown or green)
  • 3/4 cup chopped leeks
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese
  • 6 shredded romaine leaves
  • 8 tortillas (red chili or jalapeno variety)
  • 3 cups stock
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3/4 cup cooked black turtle beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • Fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)

How To Make It:

Combine the cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, garlic, coriander, salt and black pepper to make a spice mixture. Rub half of it over the pork and let it marinate for two hours at room temperature or for up to twelve hours in the refrigerator.

Heat the oil and saute the onions, leeks, carrots, mushrooms and celery with all but about three tablespoons each of bell pepper and tomatoes for five minutes over a moderate heat. Stir the mixture often.

Add the remaining spice mixture, rice, wine, lentils, tomato paste, beans and barley and stir. Pour in the stock and simmer the mixture until it is creamy and thick and the liquid has been absorbed. If you like, you can make this filling up to forty eight hours ahead and reheat it.

Grill the pork over a high heat, turning it often. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper over it and cook until medium rare. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and let it rest. Grill the zucchini until it is quite tender but still with a bit of bite to it.

Warm the tortillas on the grill. Put the tortillas on a flat surface and divide the cooked vegetable and bean mixture between them. Cut the ends off the pork and cut them into thin slices. Layer these pieces of meat over the filling and top with cheese and romaine.

Tightly wrap the tortillas and cut them in half. Cut the rest of the meat into thin diagonal slices. Arrange the pork, zucchini, and filled tortillas on a platter and garnish with the remaining bell pepper, tomato and some fresh thyme. Let people serve themselves.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Dec 07

Traditional Mexican Foods – Cheese Soup From Oaxaca

Potato and cheese cream soupThe following recipe combines a number of typical Mexican ingredients to make a tasty soup. The potatoes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and parsley add nutrients, the broth, and chilies give the soup flavor and the queso Oaxaca makes it creamy and really luxurious. You can use fresh or canned chilies in this recipe.

If you cannot find poblano chilies, which are mild-tasting, dark green ones, you can substitute bell peppers and add a tablespoon of Tabasco to the soup to make up for losing the piquancy of the poblanos.

What Is Queso Oaxaca?

This cheese is white and semi-hard. It is like non-aged Monterey Jack but its stringiness is like mozzarella so of you cannot find Oaxaca cheese, substitute mozzarella instead.

Making queso Oaxaca is tricky and the cheese is stretched into ribbons and then rolled up like yarn. Mozzarella is made using a similar process. Many authentic Mexican food recipes feature this ingredient and it is often added to empanadas and quesadillas, sometimes along with squash flowers or another ingredient.

You can get this cheese in different shapes, including balls and bricks. In the following soup recipe you need to cut it into cubes so buy whichever shape you can get. Using this cheese in soup might be an unusual idea to you, but it does improve both the flavor and the texture, and it works well with the other ingredients. Also, because this Oaxaca recipe contains so many chilies, the creaminess of the queso Oaxaca provides a mouth-cooling contrast which works well.

What You Need:

  • 10 poblano chilies
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth granules
  • 1 lb diced Oaxaca cheese
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 peeled tomatoes
  • 6 peeled, diced potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

How To Make It:

If you are using fresh poblanos, roast them on a hot griddle until the skins are brown and blistered. Put the chilies in a plastic bag for ten minutes, then peel them and take out the seeds and veins. If they are canned, cut them lengthwise and take out the seeds. Rinse the chilies and then cut them into long strips.

Puree the tomatoes in the blender and then sieve them to get rid of the seeds. Fry the garlic and onion in a large pot until the onion is tender. Add the tomatoes and cook for four minutes. Add four cups of the water, the salt, parsley, baking soda and broth granules. If you think the soup needs more water, go ahead and add another cup or two.

Bring the milk to a boil in another pan and then take off the skin if one forms. Add it to the tomato mixture, along with a third of the cheese. Let it melt. Divide the remaining cheese between six soup bowls and pour the soup over the top.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Nov 07

The Use Of Potatoes In Mexican Food Recipes

Mexican PotatoAlthough a lot of expats in Mexico complain about the potatoes not having the right texture for non-Mexican dishes, they seem to suit Mexican food recipes with potatoes quite well. One of the most famous authentic Mexican food recipes available as street food is “molotes” and these are made by rolling fresh corn dough over a filling and then frying it.

As well as potato molotes, you can get ones stuffed with chorizo, chilies, squash blossoms, mushrooms, or Oaxaca cheese. You can get the potato variety with or without chorizo and, whether you purchase the big, half-moon shaped ones in Puebla or the torpedo-like ones in Oaxaca, you are sure to find this traditional Mexican food very tasty.

The humble spud is often served with chorizo, chilies, or onions in tacos. They might be served plain, in corn or flour tortillas, or wrapped tightly and fried until crispy. Sour cream, salsa, and shredded lettuce make a popular garnish.

Tortitas de papa are also worth sampling and these golden patties are made with potatoes and seasoned with cheese and onion. They are similar to croquettes. Papas en escabeche is often served as a tapa in bars and this dish features chilled, pickled potatoes with jalapenos and carrots.

Papitas del ajillo are baby potatoes with cumin and garlic. Try them with a grilled steak. You can get both red and white varieties of these at Mexican markets, although the thin-skinned alpha variety with its yellow flesh used to be the most common type by far.

Potato Cultivation In Mexico

Twenty two states grow this vegetable and more than fifty percent comes from Sonora and Sinaloa in the west. The Chihuahua, Guanajuato, and Veracruz regions are other important producers and this vegetable is often used to make atole, which is a thick beverage. Outside Veracruz it is usually made with corn.

This crop was not grown much in the country until the mid-1800s and it was not major until the 1950s. Consumption of potatoes grew by sixty five percent between 1994 and 2004 and the yearly consumption of potatoes per person in Mexico is almost thirty eight pounds. Most are sold as fresh produce and only fourteen percent is used for making chips.

This food was first grown in the Peruvian Andes eight thousand years ago but the cultivated varieties were introduced to South America by the Spanish explorers.

How To Buy Them

If you want to buy your own Mexican spuds, look out for smooth skins and reject any flaky ones. Bright red potatoes might have been dyed but reddish ones should be natural. Spuds with sprouts, blemishes, an over-soft texture, or a greenish hue should be avoided.

Store them away from light in a plastic bag with holes in or in a paper bag with the top left open. Keep them away from onions since they cause them to sprout more quickly.

Do not store your spuds in the refrigerator either, or the low temperatures will turn the starch to sugar and the moisture will make them sprout. Scrub them with a vegetable brush before you cook them and take out any green parts or sprouts. You do not need to peel them unless you want to.

This food is high in iron, antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C and low in fat. Potatoes are high in carbohydrates but they are not fattening, like many people assume; instead you can blame the usual accompaniments (sour cream, butter, gravy, or cooking oil) for bumping up the calorie count.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Oct 12

Homemade Horchata Recipe and More Mexican Beverages

Homemade Horchata with Cinnamon

Homemade Horchata with Cinnamon

When most people think of Mexican cuisine they don’t picture beverages to go with it. But in all cultures, the drink paired with the food is an important part of the entire experience. Imagine having a fine red snapper prepared Mexican style for dinner, then washing it down with orange juice or milk. Healthy, but somehow it just doesn’t fit.

Fortunately, there is a huge array of tasty, healthy Mexican beverages to go with every meal.

Horchata Recipe

8 Servings

Horchata is a traditional Mexican favorite made from rice, water, cinnamon, almonds and sugar. But milk is often added as well.  Muy delicioso!


  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup rinsed long-grain white rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick for the beverage and more for garnish if desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish


Blend the rice and cinnamon stick with 4 cups water until the cinnamon is coarsely ground. Pour the blend into a large bowl and add 4 more cups water; soak at room temperature for 3 hours.

Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain the blend through cheesecloth or a fine sieve into a pitcher. Stir in the sugar and vanilla, and then chill.

Stir the horchata again before serving. Pour into ice-filled glasses; garnish with cinnamon sticks and a dusting of ground cinnamon.


Chocolate is popular in Mexican dishes, or even as a dessert bar. But it’s more often consumed in the form of a hot chocolate drink. Mexican chocolate tends to be more granular and bitter than that from other countries. That makes it a perfect ingredient for a breakfast beverage. Melt the chocolate, add a bit of sugar to taste, and voila!

Fruit Drinks

But you can also enjoy a great fruit drink with that fine frittata for lunch. Aqua fresca (a Mexican cooler) comes in a variety of flavors such as guava, pineapple or mango. The agua de tamarindo is a great favorite down Mexico way, made from the tamarind. For something even lighter try the agua de Jamaica made from the Hibiscus flower.


Naturally, that pre-dinner drink can quite rightly consist of a traditional margarita. Made from fine tequila and Mexican Controy, you’ll be ready for a hearty meal after one of these. If you prefer your tequila straight, that’s fine, too. Don’t forget the lime, though.

Mexican Coffees

After dinner you’ll just have to have a Mexican coffee. Select some of your finest beans and brew the coffee dark.  For a real taste treat, add Rompope to taste, a kind of vanilla Mexican liqueur. Or, for something a little more straightforward, just try a bit of the Rompope all on its own.


May 17

How To Make Mole

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole

In case you’re wondering, the title does NOT refer to creating a small gopher-like animal or any dish containing it. No, mole is a delicious traditional Mexican sauce. In fact, it’s so traditional that the name derives from an Aztec word that just means ‘sauce’. The most popular type hails from Puebla, Mexico which gives its name to the full description: mole poblano.

The basic ingredients are straightforward enough, though some of them may require a bit of digging to locate.

Mole Sauce Recipe


  • 3 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 short French roll
  • 2 very ripe plantains (dark)
  • 3 oz Mexican chocolate
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 6 ancho chiles
  • 3 pastilla chiles
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 4 tbsp peanuts
  • 4 tbsp pecans
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 5 tbsp raisins
  • 8 pepper corns
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp anise
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp pork lard

There’s quite a bit of preparation to make a fine mole, but the effort is worth it, as a taste of the results will prove.

Grind up all the chiles, as well as the cumin and anise, very finely. Set them aside. Grind up the nuts to small chunks, but not powder.

Sauté the nuts in the pork lard. If you prefer something less heavy use vegetable or canola oil. Then sauté the raisins in the same oil. In a fresh skillet, sauté the plantains in pork lard or oil until they’ve gone slightly crispy. Then sauté the bread in the same skillet.

Mix the vegetables together with the sautéed plantains and add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. You can use a blender or stir well with a spoon or mixer, then strain the result. Strain the chile mix to remove any seeds, stir well, then add the result to the vegetable mix.

Make a paste by mashing the bread and tortillas well, then add them in too. Add 2 cups of chicken stock. Add another cup of chicken stock to the ground nuts and blend that in.

Finally, melt the chocolate and add it to this soupy mixture and stir well. Now, for the hard part. Stir almost continuously for about 2 hours.

This can be done by trading places among several people, or you can set a mixer on very low speed, preferably one that has a computerized timer so it can be turned off and on every few minutes for a few seconds. But you’ll need a mixer with a heating element since the blend also needs to be cooked over low heat while it is stirred.

The result is enough to spread on dishes for a dozen diners and will keep well in the refrigerator for a week.

Mar 17

Classic Flan Recipe

Classic Flan

Classic Flan

Calling flan a caramel custard is to do it an injustice. No mere pudding, this traditional Mexican dessert is the crème de la crème of sweets. Of course, not surprisingly, there are a hundred and one variations on the basic recipe. But sometimes the original is so much more than one can expect, to alter it is to approach cooking blasphemy.

Start early in the day so your flan has plenty of time to cool before serving. Then get ready for a bit of heaven.

Classic Flan


  • 5 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 strips of lemon zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick


You can start with the ‘frosting’ first. Spread a 1/2 cup of sugar on the bottom of a saucepan and warm to medium-low heat. The goal is to brown the sugar, turning it gooey without burning. At a certain point it will start to melt. Don’t stir, but you can give the pan a little shake to prevent sticking.

Once the sugar is golden brown remove from heat and pour into a dozen warmed custard cups. You want the sugar to remain like syrup and not crystallize.

Warming custard cups is simple. Put an ounce of water into each cup and put them into the microwave for a minute, then remove and pour out any excess water. Watch carefully to ensure that the water doesn’t all boil away.

Flan Body

In a saucepan, combine milk, lemon zest (the outer peel of the fruit) and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a vigorous boil, then lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Remove and let stand.

In a bowl, mix the whole eggs and egg yolks together with a cup of sugar. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl through a fine sieve. Whisk until the result is well blended. Pour the result into the coated custard cups.

Arrange the cups into a baking pan, then pour in an inch of water, being careful not to splash any into the custard cups. Then bake at 300F/150C for an hour and a half. Check the flan periodically to ensure that the water has not all boiled away.

Remove the pan from the oven carefully, avoiding dumping the boiling water onto the floor or knocking over the custard cups. Remove the cups and let them cool for several hours in air.

Preparing flan takes a bit of effort, but the results will be worth it. If you doubt it, just ask the people who can’t tell you because their mouths are too full of flan. A big thumbs up will do nicely.