Mexican Chocolate Creme Brûlée

For this past year’s annual pre-Thanksgiving Creme Brûlée day, I improvised a Mexican Chocolate recipe. It was a new favorite, so I’ve experimented some more and pinned down the ingredients to share with the world. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Custard:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 quart heavy cream
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Topping:

  • additional sugar

Directions:

Preheat over to 375°

Whisk together sugar and egg yolks until they’re homogenous and lighten a bit in color. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa powder, and gradually add cream while continuing to whisk all ingredients together.

Pour mixture into ramekins. (Size doesn’t matter much, though I like shallower ones, as it maximizes the topping/custard ratio.) Put ramkeins in a roasting pan and pour enough hot water around the ramekins in the pan to cover the bottom half of the ramkeins. (Too little water and your custards will dry out. Too much and you’ll probably spill the water into the custard as you move it.) Bake for 45 minutes.

Refrigerate the custards for at least 2 hours, but not more than a few days. When you’re ready to serve, pull ramekins from the fridge and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar across the top of the custard. Then us a kitchen blowtorch or an over broiler to melt the sugar and form a layer of sugar glass across the top of the custard. (I prefer the torch, as I’ve had a hard time controlling the process with a broiler.) Allow creme brulee to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Piña de Gallo

Here’s a new recipe that I created for Mutual Mobile‘s annual Cinco de Queso competition. I’ve taken a couple of stabs at recipes that use pineapple for the sweetness before, but this is my favorite. (It’s also pretty much the easiest salsa recipe I’ve come up with to date.) Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 20 oz cans crushed pineapple
  • 2 7.5 oz cans chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 bunch cilantro (discard stems)
  • 3 limes

Preparation:

Put the pineapple and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Juice the limes into the mix. Pick the peppers out of the adobo sauce and add them.

Now determine how much of the adobo sauce to add — the more, the saltier. The sauce from one of the cans tastes right to me, but you can add more or less depending on what you like.

Blend until smooth.

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Salsa Cruda

Here’s another of my favorite salsa recipes: salsa cruda, or pico de gallo. This one actually violates one of my salsa-making commandments — get all the taste buds firing at once — by leaving out anything bitter. You can add garlic to fill that gap, but I find this combination without the garlic very nice.

2 lbs roma tomatos
1 medium onion
2-5 serrano peppers
1 bunch cilantro
2 tsp salt
2 limes

Chop tomato, onion, cilantro, and peppers. Mix together. Make the salt into a little pile in the middle of the mixture and squeeze the limes over the pile to dissolve the salt. Mix the salt and lime in, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight. (It can be eaten immediately, but is better if allowed to sit for a while, as the acid in the lime juice cooks the vegetables a bit.)

Good with chips, on tacos, on meats, etc.

Lazy Salsa Verde

I have a treatise on making good salsa lurking at the back of my brain, to which some of my less-fortunate friends have already been subjected in fragmentary form over Mexican food. Until I get my magnum opus written up, however, I give you this — my favorite salsa recipe. The foundation of this green salsa is the tomatillo — a small, green tomato-like fruit that grows within a papery husk. It should be available in the produce section of good supermarkets.

1 pound tomatillos
3 cloves garlic
2 serrano peppers
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 an onion
salt & black pepper to taste

Husk tomatillos.
Boil tomatillos, garlic, and serranos together in pot of water until tomatillos turn light green.
Put tomatillos, garlic, and serranos into a blender and blend until homogeneous.
Add cilantro, onion, salt & pepper, and juice from lime. Blend until onion chopped into fairly small pieces.
Cover and let cool before serving.

Good with tortilla chips, on chicken, and over enchiladas.