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September 11, 2015
Marbled Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches is a classic. But a classic from where, you may ask?

Ask an Argentinean: From Argentina, of course. Ask a Cuban: Sin duda from Cuba. Ask an Ecuadorian: Claro que from Ecuador. A Venezuelan? Por supuesto que es de Venezuela. Ask a Mexican…Of course, sin duda, claro que por supuesto que es Mexicano. No doubt, it is Mexican. ¡Si señor!

You can go on and on…

It would seem that each and every single Latin American country claims the Tres Leches Cake as its very own. Not only does everyone absolutely love it, it is also a dessert that is deeply ingrained in that nation’s gastronomy and culture.

From here or from there, it is that much adored.

Continue reading Reinventing a Classic: Marbled Tres Leches Cake

September 1, 2015

“Being of Mexican and Spanish descent, I often find myself having to translate to co-workers the names of different dishes in Hispanic cuisine. However, I’m not the only one who has noticed some foods no longer need explaining since they’ve become part of the American menu.

‘I wrote a blog post, Churros Don’t Need Translating Anymore — meaning it’s not so foreign anymore,” says Pati Jinich, Costco member, chef, blogger, host of PBS’s Pati’s Mexican Table and cookbook author…”

To read the entire article, click here.

June 19, 2015

I made my Berries with Lime Syrup, which is so good this time of year with all the fresh berries in season. I also talked with anchor Nick Giovanni about my learning trip to Kenya with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

Mango Puff

Mango Puff
Gelatina de Mango

Serves: 12

Gelatina de Mango" alt="Mango Puff
Gelatina de Mango" />


1 cup lukewarm water

2 envelopes (about 2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin

1 14-ounce can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk

4 cups cubed mango, fresh or thawed from frozen

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup diced fresh mango or berries (optional, for garnish)

To Prepare

Pour 1 cup lukewarm water into a medium heatproof bowl and add 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin. Stir and let rest until mixture puffs up, it will increase slightly in volume, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a small saucepan (that can hold the heatproof bowl) with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place bowl with the gelatin mixture on top the saucepan, creating a water bath or double boiler. Let the bowl rest there, stirring occasionally, until gelatin completely dissolves, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a blender along with the mango chunks and lime juice, puree until completely smooth. Add the diluted gelatin and blend on low speed for a few seconds to combine. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Let it begin to set as you whip up the cream.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream with the mango gelatin until fully combined.

Pour into individual gelatin molds or ramekins, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely chilled and set, at least an hour. Alternatively you can pour it onto a container, and let it chill and spoon onto bowls later.

When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and decorate with diced fresh mango or berries of your choice, if desired. Or if chilled in a large bowl, spoon onto individual bowls.


Meringue Cake

Meringue Cake
Pastel de Merengue

Serves: 10 to 12

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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.


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.


Churros with Cajeta or Dulce de Leche

Churros con Cajeta

Serves: makes about 16

Churros con Cajeta


Canola oil for frying, plus 1/4 cup

1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon

2 cups water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

Cajeta or dulce de leche (optional dipping sauce)

To Prepare

In a large, heavy and extended casserole, or cast iron, high-sided skillet, heat about 1 1/2-inches of canola oil over medium heat until the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees (or test with a piece of tortilla or bread; it’s ready when the oil bubbles actively all around it). It will take awhile to heat, so get this started before making the dough.

On a large plate, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, 1/4 cup oil, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the flour all at once, turn off the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir vigorously until the mixture forms a dough as smooth as possible with no flour lumps. It will take about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip or a churro press. Pipe the dough into about 6 to 8-inch pieces (or if you want to replicate a churro store, pipe a rope-like dough of about 24-inches) and carefully place in oil. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and crisp, flipping in between. Use tongs to remove them and place on a paper towel lined baking sheet or drying rack.

While the churros are still very hot, toss them in the sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat. If desired, serve with cajeta or dulce de leche as a dipping sauce and Mexican hot chocolate on the side.


Marbled Tres Leches Cake

Marbled Tres Leches Cake
Pastel de Tres Leches Marmoleado

Serves: 12 to 15

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Pastel de Tres Leches Marmoleado" />


For the cake:

Unsalted butter, to butter the pan

9 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup hot water

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

For the sauce:

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream topping:

2 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 disk (about 3 ounces) Mexican-style chocolate such as Abuelita, grated, for garnish

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

To make the cake: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar, beating until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Pour the egg yolks into another large bowl and beat with a whisk or fork, until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the vanilla and continue beating until fully incorporated. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture with a rubber spatula, taking care not to deflate the whites. Fold in the flour 1/4 cup at a time and mix well. The batter will look a bit streaky.

In a small bowl, combine the hot water with the cocoa powder. Pour half the cake batter into another bowl and fold in the cocoa-water mixture with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed.

Spread the vanilla batter in the prepared pan. Pour the chocolate batter on top, in a straight line down the center. With a knife or spoon, make a whirling design from one side of the pan to the other. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top of the cake has lightly browned and feels spongy to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Invert the cake onto a large platter or board and remove the pan and parchment paper. Cover the cake with an upside-down platter large enough to hold the cake and the vanilla sauce and invert again so the cake is right side up. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake, so it will absorb the sauce.

To make the sauce: In a large bowl, combine the three milks and vanilla and stir to blend well. Pour about 2/3 of the sauce over the cake. Don’t worry if it looks like there is too much sauce—the cake will absorb it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Reserve the remaining vanilla sauce.

When you are ready to finish the cake, remove the cake from the refrigerator and spoon the remaining sauce on top of the cake.

Make the whipped cream: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and the confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until it holds well formed peaks, about 6 minutes. Spread the whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with the grated Abuelita chocolate.




Serves: 10 to 12



4 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 stick true or ceylon cinnamon, about 2 1/2-inches long

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

10 egg yolks (use the whites to make an egg white omelet!)

To Prepare

Place the milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to bubble and simmer around the edges, reduce the heat to low, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit until it cools down. Once it has cooled down, remove the cinnamon stick.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork or whisk, until pale yellow and thick, about a minute. Add the sweetened condensed milk in a stream, and beat along with the fork or whisk, incorporating as you do. Add the cooled milk mixture, a ladle at a time, incorporating with the fork or whisk. Try not to make too many bubbles.

Prepare a water bath using a roasting pan, adding about 1/2-inch of already hot water. Place 10 ramekins, or flan or custard molds, in the water bath. With a ladle, pour the mixture into the ramekins, dividing evenly among all 10.

Carefully place into the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the custard has begun to set and the top has created an evident thick layer. It should not be crispy or have browned, if anything just a few spots here and there. Remove the pan from the oven and the ramekins from the water bath.

The jericalla should be creamy and smooth, like pudding. Let cool. Serve at room temperature, or chill in the fridge before serving.


March 11, 2015

Some Latin foods don’t need translating anymore. That is the case of churros. Crisp and golden on the outside, soft and almost moist in the center, and covered in a gritty mix of sugar and cinnamon. They have to be some of the most, if not the most, irresistible fritters.

Mexicans don’t get the credit for inventing them though. That battle is still disputed between the Portuguese and the Spanish. But we do owe the Spanish for helping churros find their way to our Mexican kitchens, where we have found a way to make them our very own. More than five centuries later, so rooted they have become, it is hard to find a town, small or large, that doesn’t sell them.

You can find churros being sold by street vendors in little paper bags, in baskets, or in stands that have a heating light to keep them warm – people tend to underestimate how chilly Mexican nights can get. But there are also churrerías, places that only sell churros and different kinds of hot chocolate to accompany them.

Continue reading Churros Don’t Need Translating Anymore

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