We just got back from our Oaxacan Culinary Tour on June 21, the longest day of the year--and what a blessing to have that extra time to get things done. We had one of the very most compatible and fun groups ever! There were six participants plus me.
The weather was totally amazing, though rainier than I had ever seen, but that never dampened any of our spirits. The average day time temperature was in the high 70's and the average night temperature was in the mid 60's, which seemed even greater knowing I had left behind 100 degree weather with little cooling or rain in sight!
We had three amazingly great and tasty cooking classes and toured Monte Alban and several villages specializing in pottery, colorful wooden items called abrehay plus plenty of time to shop the many colorful vendors and stores and enjoy a margarita or two or...beer...yummy Oaxacan specialties and more.
We had two elegant dinners in Oaxaca's finest with three or five star chefs---depending on the rating system. Each featured very attractive plating with delicious flavors. Our final dinner featured Chef's selections paired with the perfect complementary wines.
I am sharing some photos of our good times and a recipe for the dessert from Susana's Seasons of My Heart Cooking School.
We learned how cocoa beans are toasted, rolled to a paste on a metate, then a small aount of sugar is added and some ground canela or cinnamon to make various types of cocoa. One of which was made into our dessert.
Covid was not a hindrance, just an opportunity to buy a very colorful hand embroidered mask which wasn't always necessary. The local Oaxacan people were just as friendly as always and even more so to see us after a hiatus last year.
Here's the recipe--
BUDIN DE CHOCOLATE OAXAQUENO
OAXACAN CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Yield: 12 – 14, 51/2 ounce ramekin or timbal molds
This is a recipe from Susana, the owner of “Seasons of My Heart” Cooking School in the outskirts of Oaxaca in a beautiful dome shaped, Mexican tiled cooking school in a beautiful setting. This recipe is one she has developed and honed to perfection. You may freeze the Boudins for up to three months. The sauce is optional, however a wonderful addition.
For the Boudin:
½ cup raisins
1/3 cup Mezcal
3 ½ cups French bread cut into ½ inch cubes
1 pound Oaxaan chocolate, broken into pieces (semi sweet chocolate can be substituted)
½ cup strong coffee
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup crème fraiche or Mexican Crema (if unable to locate, substitute, ¾ cup cultured sour cream mixed with ¼ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
¼ teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon or canela
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the raisins and mescal in a small saucepan and simmer until the raisins swell.
- Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven while heating to temperature.
- Place the chocolate, coffee and salt in a double boiler over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth and cool.
- Place the eggs, cream, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. While stirring the egg mixture continuously—pour in the melted chocolate, stirring until well blended.
- Add the raisins with the mescal and toasted bread cubes to the bowl and stir until well blended. If time allows, let it set until the bread has completely soaked up the chocolate mixture. Or, you can make them up to this point a day ahead and refrigerate.
- Divide the mixture into 12 well buttered ramekins, allowing about 1/3 inch margin at the top. Using a large 12 by 14 by 2 inch deep baking pay, place a towel in the bottom, then place the ramekins in the pan, trying to keep them from touching each other. Place in the oven, then add ½ inch hot water and bake until set of 50 or 60 minutes.
- Cool the ramekins and unmold after about 15 minutes and serve with the fruit sauce and whipped cream dusted with powdered cinnamon.
Salsa de Tuna (cactus fruit)
1 ¾ cup red tuna puree from the prickly pear cactus (or substitute mango, raspberry or strawberry fruit
8 ounces tangerine or orange juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 – 2 Tablespoon Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/ In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, over medium heat, reduce the juice and sugar until syrupy. Set aside to cool, then add the puree and the liquor. Taste to adjust flavor.
Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1, 2 ounce bar Mexican chocolate
1. Whip the cream, adding the vanilla.
Assembly:Spoon the Salsa on each serving plate, placing the Boudin the middle of the Salsa. Top with the whipped cream, then dust with finely grated Mexican chocolate. Garnish the plate with a small flower and serve.