Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting my just desserts...

Dec. 24, 2010 (Yes, I have a lot of other things I should be doing. Don't judge.)

My Mother in law is a great lady, and is an excellent cook. I think I can hold my own, but she has mad skills that can turn three tiny dabs of saran wrap covered leftovers and a hunk of meat into a meal for six (four univited). I am always bringing something a little diffferent to holiday meals and she politely tolerates my weird cooking, even if I believe she just wishes I would make some damn brownies and shut up about it. She knows about the layers too, I am guessing. She loves me anyway. And I her.

For Christmas we are bringing tamales from my favorite local Mexican Chef, Mayra. (She says she is a cook, I say she is a Chef. I am not giving in.) I sampled them today before the big dinner tomorrow to make sure they weren't poisoned, and they were delicious. DELICIOUS.  DE - LI - CIOUS. She makes a great spicy avocado sauce for them too which is so good I could eat it by itself.

I am on tamale and dessert duty for Christmas and no.. I am not making brownies. Or pie. Considering our Mexican theme, I am making this:

Daisy Martinez's Chocolate-Chile cake

Let's hope mine resembles this, even slightly.
It seems the right flair for our Mexican themed dinner. The aroma of the sauce of coffee, butter and cinnamon sticks was pretty dreamy, pre-cayenne. The teaspoon of cayenne gave it a wee kick that you only get just at the end of the taste. Very warm. After tasting the buttery concotion a few times I poured it over a boatload of well earned, Ghirardelli chocolate.  I whisked with the new whisk the kids bought me and the chocolate tasted great. I placed the springform pan in a water bath inside a roaster in the oven. This was new to me, and I learned the hard way that I should have used WIDER foil to put around the bottom of the springform pan. THe skinnier version had a lot of layers (ba-dump-bump), and the water seeped in a little. EEEEk! $25 worth of chocolate! I was able to get the water out and re-group with the wider foil. It is just out of the oven now and is not at all wiggly, as suggested by the recipe. In fact, I wish it would "wiggle it - just a little bit (name that tune)".  I fear it will taste like a hot dry brownie. It is cooling itself down this moment. I am trying to do the same.

The cayenne will make the fam raise an eyebrow, but just one, they are used to me. "That girl. Another layer. Chocolate that is SPICY? "HOT" chocolate, but not "HOT CHOCOLATE?". Weird. In fact, she is a little weird.." I think my father in law is a closet weird eater, so he always likes my crazy offerings. So, that and my husband will even out the votes for me. Phew. 

As a back up, and for the kiddies, I am also making this monstrosity of sugar, below. It was very easy, and seems like you could add any old thing you wanted to change things up (fruit and jam were mentioned). I am going with plain, for my little plain Janes who will be at the gathering. And for German-born Opa, who will not want to even consider spicy chocolate.  This cake was a layer of very thick cheesecake with breading on both sides, and a whole lotta butter, cinnamon and sugar. It used whomp cresecents (you whomp them on the counter to open them), but don't judge. Wish me luck with both! I hope I can get them all done before Santa gets here.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

**Post Holiday Wrap-up**

Below are the desserts I made, post dig in (I always forget the before photos -CURSES!). We ate so much prime rib, tamales and homemade refritos, so we weren't as hungry for dessert as we should have been. No matter, we went for it anyway. The Chocolate-chile torte was RICH. It made me feel that it would be better served as candy, as even a small-for-holidays size slice was a whole-lotta-chocolate. I couldn't finish all of mine. Still, I thought the flavor was really good and the spice level was just right for those who have a more adventurous palate. I served vanilla bean ice cream with the slices (recipes suggested cinnamon, but I couldn't find any) and the duality of the cool and the heat was really nice. I like duality. I added pomegranate seeds to mine too, for a festive look. Ole'!

Give it a shot, but slice those slices THIN To WIN. Below are photos of the carnage.

Chocolate-Chile Torte

I seem sweet, but I am also spicy. Me, or the cake? You decide.

The fam gave the torte nice-but-mixed reviews. No one disliked it, but I had a few "It's really different.." responses and everyone agreed it was very rich. Opa had already said whatever those things (tamales) were at dinner, he was ok if he never had one again, so I didn't push my luck with spicy cake. Ole? 

On to the cheesecake!

This was fluffier initially.
It was a little deflated by the end of the holiday, as was I.

This was a winner with most everyone, although I (and several other online reviewers) found it to be a little TOO sweet. No duality at all here, folks, just sweet goodness. I think one could cut the sugar on the top by at least half, and I didn't drizzle with honey as I think it would have sent me into diabetic shock. This kept very well in the refridgerator, and as suggested, was pretty good as a cream cheese danish the morning after Christmas. And this morning. Don't judge.

You're judging, aren't you?

1 comment:

ladymadonna99 said...

We had tamales and homemade refrieds for Christmas, too! We made them, lard and all, and they were... ok. The masa is really hard to get just right. I'm totally going to try the torte for our next Mexican night. Now where did I put that springform...? ;)