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Pati's Mexican Table

Mexican cuisine is chock-full of grilled, roasted, fried and frozen recipes, but for those looking to expand their repertoire with some baked recipes, this episode is for you! Today, Pati’s Mexican Table becomes Pati’s Mexican Bakery with a variety of simple recipes – all of which bake right in the oven.

Meringue Cake

Meringue Cake
Pastel de Merengue

Serves: 10 to 12

Pastel de Merengue" alt="Meringue Cake
Pastel de Merengue" />


For the meringues:

7 large egg whites

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted

For the whipped cream filling:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces (1 cup) mascarpone or requeson cheese, chilled

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

2 cups sliced strawberries, plus more for garnish

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and trace two circles, 8-inches in diameter, on each piece of parchment paper, four circles altogether between the two pans.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and lime juice on medium speed until frothy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Continue beating and start adding the granulated sugar slowly, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until completely combined and the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 2 to 3 more minutes. The meringue should appear white and glossy.

Remove the bowl from the stand, sift the cornstarch into the meringue, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold and completely incorporate the cornstarch. Transfer the meringue to the prepared baking sheets, dividing evenly between the 4 8-inch measured circles. Use the spatula to spread it into even circles; you will be able to make some nice wavy shapes.

Bake for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 175 degrees. Let the meringue dry in the oven for another 4 to 6 hours. The outside should be crisp, and they should be easy to remove from the parchment. Set aside to cool completely.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and mascarpone cheese until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Transfer 1 1/4 cups of the whipped mascarpone cream to a medium bowl and fold in the sliced strawberries. Set aside.

To assemble the cake, place a round of meringue on platter and spoon about 1 1/4 cup whipped cream onto the center, then spread to cover. Top with the second meringue and spread on the strawberry and whipped cream mixture. Top with the third meringue and another 1 1/4 cup whipped cream. Top with the final meringue. Serve in slices with more fresh strawberries.


Drunken Rice with Chicken

Drunken Rice with Chicken
Arroz Borracho con Pollo

Serves: 6 to 8

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Arroz Borracho con Pollo" />


1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

2 tablespoons boiling water

6 tablespoons safflower or corn oil, divided

6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, divided, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups long or extra-long white rice

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped tomato

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

Pinch of ground cumin

Pinch of ground cinnamon

2 whole cloves, stems removed and tops crushed

1 cup beer

3 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup peas, fresh or thawed from frozen

To Prepare

Place the saffron threads in a small mixing bowl along with the boiling water. Mix and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large and thick casserole over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Once the oil is hot, brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and place in a bowl. Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the casserole and scrape drippings, don’t remove them though.

Add the uncooked rice and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until its color starts to change to milky white and the grains separate. Incorporate the onion, green and red bell peppers, tomato and garlic and stir. Add the cumin, cinnamon, crushed cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, until vegetables have softened. Pour in the beer, and let it cook and reduce until it is almost absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated, a couple minutes.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice, pour the chicken broth on top and the saffron and its liquid, as well as the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir. When liquid starts to boil, add the peas and cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been mostly absorbed.

If the rice grains don’t seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken stock or water and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. Turn heat off, and let it sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.


Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos

Serves: makes 6 to 8 chiles rellenos

Chiles Rellenos


6 to 8 poblano chiles (about 2 pounds)

1 batch red sauce or salsa roja (recipe follows)

3 to 4 cups grated melty cheese such as Monterey Jack, mozzarella or Muenster

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil, for frying

To Prepare

To prepare the poblano chiles for stuffing: Place chiles on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill, or directly over the open flame. I prefer to broil them. Whatever method you choose, turn them every 2 to 3 minutes for a total of 6 to 9 minutes. They must seem charred and blistered on the outside, while the flesh must be cooked but not burnt. Place them immediately in a plastic bag, close it tightly and let them sweat for 10 to 20 minutes. Lastly, under a thin stream of cold water, remove the charred skin, which should come right off. Make a slit down one side of the pepper and remove the cluster of seeds and veins. Once cleaned, pat them dry.

Stuff each of the poblano chiles with about 1/2 cup grated cheese, or as much as will fit, allowing them to close. You may seal with a toothpick. Place 1/2 cup flour on a plate, roll the stuffed chiles in the flour and let them sit. The flour coating will help the batter coat and stay on the chiles.

To prepare the batter: In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently, on low speed, fold in the egg yolks and only beat enough so that they are incorporated, a few seconds.

To cook the chiles: In a large casserole, heat about 1/2-inch of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, test the oil, by dipping a teaspoon of batter into the oil; if there are active bubbles all around it, it’s ready. Dip each of the stuffed and floured chiles into the egg batter, making sure that they are entirely covered in batter.

In batches, place them in the hot oil without overcrowding, trying to have the side that was open or sealed with the toothpick facing up. Spoon some of the hot oil on top, so that it will seal the chile. Fry for about 2 minutes per side, flipping genly with a slotted spoon, until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel covered drying rack or platter.

Heat the salsa roja. Serve the chiles with a generous amount of salsa roja spooned on top. Alternatively, you can place the chiles in a casserole and top with the heated salsa roja. Eat while hot and melty!


Red Sauce
Salsa Roja

Serves: makes about 4 cups


2 pounds ripe tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, with skin on

1 1-inch thick slice of a large white onion (about 2 ounces), outer skin peeled off

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

To Prepare

Place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are completely smooth, cooked and mushy.

Place tomatoes and garlic in a blender along with the onion and salt, and process until completely smooth.

Heat the oil in medium saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in the tomato sauce, cover with a lid partially and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the chicken broth, stir and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, until well seasoned and lightly thickened.


Every family has passed-down recipes, and Pati’s family is certainly no exception. Food has always been a central part of her family life, both while she was growing up and today with her own family. She’ll show us a couple recipes that were passed down to her, as well as the one recipe that always makes her own family happy – the recipe that she hopes to pass down to her sons. Also, meet Pati’s mom and sister, Sharon, as Pati joins them for lunch at one of their favorite restaurants in Mexico City.

Chocolate Hibiscus Cookies

Chocolate Cookies with Hibiscus Flowers
Galletas de Chocolate con Flores de Jamaica

Serves: makes 18 to 20 cookies

Galletas de Chocolate con Flores de Jamaica" alt="Chocolate Cookies with Hibiscus Flowers
Galletas de Chocolate con Flores de Jamaica" />


1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

12 ounces roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 large eggs

1 large egg white

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract

2 ounces rehydrated hibiscus flowers from sweet jamaica tea or water (recipe follows), finely chopped

To Prepare

Make the sweet jamaica tea or water (recipe follows).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

In a bain marie, or in a heat-proof bowl set on a pot with simmering water over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate along with the butter, until completely melted and smooth. Stir with a spatula a few times as it melts. Make sure not to overheat it, and stop once it is all melted. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the whisk attachment, whisk the whole eggs and egg white along with the sugar on medium high speed until frothy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Incorporate the melted chocolate and butter mixture as well as the vanilla extract and whisk until completely combined.

Remove the bowl from the stand and add the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir and fold until completely combined. Fold in the chopped rehydrated hibiscus flowers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the batter in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.

Using a tablespoon or 2-inch scoop, place the batter in heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, cool on sheet pans for about 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks.


Hibiscus Flowers and Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus Flowers and Hibiscus Tea


6 cups water

1/2 cup honey

2 ounces dried hibiscus flowers

To Prepare

In a medium saucepan, bring water and honey to a boil. Stir in dried hibiscus flowers, stir and cook at a simmer for about 15 minutes, until flowers are completely rehydrated and soft.

Strain flowers, reserving liquid for tea, and finely chop. Set aside.


Beef and Veggie Mole Stew or Mole de Olla

Mole de Olla

Serving Size: 6 to 8

Mole de Olla


3 pounds beef stew meat cut into 11/2-inch to 2-inch chunks, or beef shank meat cut into 11/2-inch to 2-inch chunks and bones added in the pot

1/2 white onion

3 bay leaves

3 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

10 cups water

1 large sprig of fresh mint, or between 10 and 12 leaves

3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 pound ripe tomatoes (about 4), preferably roma

1/4 pound tomatillos (about 1 or 2 depending on size)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted

2 chayote squashes, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)

1 large zucchini, cubed (about 3 cups)

3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into about 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

3 ears of fresh corn, husked and cut into thirds

3/4 cup finely chopped white onion, for garnish

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

3 to 4 limes, quartered, for garnish

To Prepare

In a large heavy-bottomed casserole or pot, place the meat, half onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, mint and a tablespoon of salt. Cover with 10 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, and reduce the heat to low or medium-low heat, cover and simmer for an hour.

Meanwhile, place the ancho and pasilla chiles in a medium bowl, cover with boiling water and let them rehydrate for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the tomatoes and tomatillos in baking dish under the broiler, until they are completely charred and mushy, about 10 minutes. In a small skillet set over medium heat, place the sesame seeds and toast, stirring constantly, anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes until they start to become golden brown, but not completely dark brown.

In the jar of a blender, place the soaked chiles, along with 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, the broiled tomatoes and tomatillos, and the toasted sesame seeds, and puree until completely smooth.

Remove the lid from the large casserole, remove the cooked onion, mint and garlic cloves (if some remains, it is totally fine) and pour the chile mixture in with the meat. Stir, cover again and cook for another half hour.

Remove the lid, raise heat to medium heat, add the cubed chayote squash and the corn, and cook partially covered for 15 minutes. Add the green beans and zucchini, and cook partially covered for another 10 minutes. Taste for salt and add more if need be.

Serve in bowls, making sure that each bowl has a serving of meat, corn, chayote, green beans and zucchini. Place white onion, cilantro and halved limes at the table, for people to add as last seasonings and garnishes.

Note: Traditionally, this recipe uses xoconostles, which are hard to find in the US. Instead, I use tomatillos, which have a similar tart flavor.


Boston Lettuce Salad with Avocado Dressing, Candied Pineapple and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Boston Lettuce Salad with Avocado Dressing
Ensalada con Aderezo de Aguacate

Serves: 6

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Ensalada con Aderezo de Aguacate" />


2 ripe Mexican avocados halved, pitted and meat scooped out

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup Mexican crema, Latin-style cream, crème fraîche, or sour cream

1 garlic clove

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste

2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated, washed, dried, and torn into pieces

1/2 cup chopped candied pineapple, or other candied fruits like papaya or mango

1/2 cup spicy pumpkin seeds (recipe follows)

To Prepare

Combine the avocado, milk, cream, garlic, lime juice and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Place the lettuce in a generous-sized serving bowl, and toss with the dressing until the leaves are lightly coated. Sprinkle with the pineapple and pumpkin seeds and serve.



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1 1/2 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon corn, safflower or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon chile piquin or ground Mexican chile, more or less to taste

1 1/2 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, more or less to taste

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar, more or less to taste

To Prepare

Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking add the pumpkin seeds. Saute, stirring often, for about 4 to 5 minutes, they will have begun making popping sounds and some of them will begin gaining a nice tanned brown color.

Transfer to a mixing bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the remains of the oil behind in the pan. Sprinkle with the ground chile, salt and sugar and toss to coat. As they cool down, they will dry up and become crunchier. Eat or store covered with a lid. They will keep for about a week, if you don't finish them before then.


Mexican cuisine is full of long-standing traditional recipes and techniques. But there are many chefs bringing new ideas to the table, giving a modern twist to Mexican cooking. In this episode, Pati meets two chefs in Mexico City who are putting modern spins on this age-old cuisine. She then taps into that creativity to show us her ideas for how we can “modernize” our Mexican kitchen.

Nothing Like Homemade Cookies

Homemade Cookies
Galletas Caseras

Serves: makes about 34 cookies

Galletas Caseras" alt="Homemade Cookies
Galletas Caseras" />


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1 cup pretzels, broken into about 1/2-inch pieces

Cajeta or dulce de leche to drizzle on top (optional)

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter over medium speed. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until fully combined and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if need be. Continue to mix until it is all incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Fold in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzel pieces by hand with a rubber spatula.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form 1-inch balls and place them at least 1-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For an extra treat, you may drizzle cajeta or dulce de leche on top.


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