Tartaletas

tartaleta salvadorena

There are precious few TV shows Carlos and I can agree on, but lately we’ve been able to add one more to our “watch together” list. I was the first to start watching The Great British Baking Show on PBS, but one day Carlos sat down next to me and started watching too. The Great British Baking Show is a reality show competition, but unlike similar American programs, the contestants are utterly charming and supportive of each other, which is something both Carlos and I love about it.

One episode we watched together involved the contestants making tarts. I don’t know much about tarts, British, or otherwise, but Carlos became nostalgic.

“I love tarts,” he said.
“When have you ever had a tart?” I asked, because I’d never seen him eat one our entire marriage.

That’s when he told me that in El Salvador, Pollo Campero, (the popular fried chicken restaurant), had “tartaletas” – specifically, tartaletas de fresa, or strawberry tarts. I asked him as many questions as I could about what they were like and decided to try to make them. After some trial and error, I ended up with the recipe below.

Since I’ve never had a tartaleta from Pollo Campero, I can’t tell you if these taste the same, and Carlos hasn’t had one for over 20 years, so all he could tell me was that he loved how these turned out. That’s good enough for me. If you want to give them a try, let me know what you think!

Vanilla Custard (for tartaleta filling)

Ingredients:

6 rounded tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups 2% milk
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a blender add milk, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Blend for 15 to 30 seconds until well combined.

2. Pour the mixture into a large pot over medium heat. Add vanilla extract.

3. Stir regularly until the mixture thickens. Don’t be too quick to remove it from the stove. You want it to be the texture of pudding. After 5 minutes, if it isn’t thickening, turn the heat up a little and stir a little less regularly, but be careful not to let it cook to the bottom of the pot or you’ll have lumps in the custard.

4. Remove from heat. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to assemble the tarts.

Note: This recipe makes far more custard than you’ll need for the tarts. Feel free to eat the leftovers served up in bowls plain or with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Alternatively, you could halve the custard recipe so you don’t have so much left over.

Dessert Tart Crust

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar, (plus a few pinches)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups pre-sifted all purpose flour

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until well combined.

3. Mix in flour just until dough comes together.

4. Divide dough into four equal portions. Place each portion in a 4-inch round tart pan. Use fingers dipped in flour to press the dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of the tart pans. Don’t handle the dough any more than necessary.

Tip: I purchased Wilson Advance 4-inch tart and quiche pans and really love them. If you don’t own a set, I highly recommend these.

5. Place each tart pan in its own sandwich-size plastic zipper bag, and place them into the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.

6. Remove each tart from the plastic bags. Place the tarts on a baking sheet and then place them in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes.

Tip: Use the back of a spoon to carefully deflate any bubbles that pop up during baking.

7. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on each tart crust and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden brown.

8. Remove from oven and cool completely.

9. Don’t assemble the tartaletas until ready to serve, (or if you assemble them and put them in the fridge, plan to serve them soon.) When ready to serve the tartaletas, assemble like so:

Carefully remove each tart crust from its pan, and place onto a small plate. Spoon an even layer of custard filling onto each tart crust. Top with sliced strawberries, or other fruit of your choosing. (Other suggestions: raspberries, blackberries, peaches, blueberries, and/or kiwi.)

Makes four 4-inch round tarts.

Tart crust recipe adapted from Chowhound.com.

tartaleta de fresa

Comida Salvadoreña (Poster Giveaway!)

Do you guys remember around the holidays I shared my gift guide here which includes an awesome Cuban food poster created by Marta of My Big Fat Cuban Family? Well, Marta is actually someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face years ago and she was so thrilled that I loved her Cuban food poster that she contacted me with an idea for a collaboration. Her idea? A Comida SALVADOREÑA poster!

So I created a list of all my favorite Salvadoran foods and narrowed it down to the ones I felt were most important to include (because it was way too many to fit!) Once I provided the list of foods, Marta worked her creative magic and designed the poster! Here’s the one she sent me. I’m still trying to decide if I want it in my kitchen or dining room.

Salvadoran food poster

comida salvadorena poster

Want your own COMIDA SALVADOREÑA poster? The poster is available HERE in Marta’s online shop in standard sizes to make framing it super easy: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20.

And Marta is generously offering one for giveaway to one of my readers, so enter below for your chance to win!

===GIVEAWAY CLOSED!===

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a COMIDA SALVADOREÑA poster in the size of their choice. Sizes available are: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Salvadoran food is. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between May 28, 2015 through June 4th, 2015. Entries received after June 4th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Salvadoran Nuégados

nuegados

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Nestlé to bring you recipes using Nestlé products. As always, all opinions are my own.

Known as “buñuelos” in much of Latin America, El Salvador calls these traditional Easter fritters “nuégados” and they’re almost always accompanied by a toasted corn drink called “chilate.” There are many different varieties of nuégados with the most popular one being nuégados de yuca, but a Salvadoran acquaintance recently introduced me to nuégados de guineo (banana nuégados), which are much easier to make. The banana imparts a very delicate taste to the fried donuts which makes them delicious on their own, but they’re even more amazing with homemade Salvadoran “miel” (syrup) drizzled over top.

Here’s my recipe, and then down below, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card from Nestlé!

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

nuegados con chilate

Salvadoran Banana Fritters / Nuégados Salvadoreños en Miel

Ingredients:
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 large ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions:

COMBINE flour and bananas in a medium bowl. Use a fork or hands to mash the bananas well and mix them thoroughly into the flour.

ADD the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir to combine.

DROP spoonfuls of the dough into a large pot of medium-hot oil. Use metal tongs to carefully and continuously splash oil on top of each fritter, and to turn each fritter when it becomes golden brown. Cook only a few at a time so you don’t overcrowd them.

REMOVE each fritter to drain on a paper towel-lined plate when golden brown on both sides.

SERVE warm and with syrup drizzled on top, if desired. (Makes about 1 dozen.)

nuegados salvadorenos

nuégados en miel con chilate

Salvadoran Syrup (“Miel”)

Ingredients:

14 ounces of panela or piloncillo*
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*If you’re unable to find panela, or piloncillo, you can substitute 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Directions:

COMBINE all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat.

BRING to a boil, stirring occasionally. The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.

BOIL for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

LOWER heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little.

REMOVE from heat and allow to cool slightly. The syrup will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.

SERVE drizzled over Salvadoran Banana Fritters. Keep any unused portion refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Salvadoran fritters

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO JAIME!***

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite Easter food. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between March 30, 2015 through April 3rd, 2015. Entries received after April 3rd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Espumillas

Espumillas

The other day I tried to make a Salvadoran “Torta de Yema” and it was a complete failure. The good news is that I had a bunch of egg whites left over and I used them to make espumillas, which are like the Latin American version of meringues. As you can see, I simply dropped mine by the spoonful onto the baking sheet, but if you want to be super fancy, use a pastry bag, (or even a ziploc bag with one corner cut off), to give them a prettier shape.

Espumillas

You need:

4 egg whites (cold)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
food coloring (optional)

sprinkles and/or ground cinnamon

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 225 F.

2. Beat whites to stiff peaks.

3. Mix in sugar little by little.

4. Add vanilla extract and food coloring. (If you want to make several different colors, separate the mixture into a few bowls before adding the colors.)

5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop spoonfuls of the mixture. You can put them close together because they won’t spread but make them no larger than about an inch and a half in diameter. If your espumilla is too large, it won’t properly bake/dry in the middle.

6. Sprinkle with sprinkles or ground cinnamon. (I find the sprinkles prettier but the cinnamon ones, not pictured, were tastier.)

7. Bake for 1 hour. Do not open the oven door. After one hour, turn the oven off. Leave the espumillas in the oven while it cools down for at least two hours.

8. Break one open. Espumillas should be shiny outside, dry in the middle with a crunchy texture, and sweet candy-like flavor. Enjoy!

Fresqui-Top

Fresqui-Top

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Recibí un email de una lectora con la pregunta: “¿Qué es fresqueto? Mi esposo salvadoreño me dijo que es una bebida popular con los niños en El Salvador pero cuando fuimos a la tienda él me enseñó un bote de Kool-Aid.”

Bueno, primero pensé que ella malentendió la palabra “refresquito” pero para asegurarme, pregunté a Carlos. Inmediatamente Carlos respondió, “Ah, ella quiere decir Fresqui-Top.”

Aparentemente es una bebida con sabores de fruta que viene en paquetes de polvo igual que Kool-Aid. Eso bebía Carlos en El Salvador cuando era niño.

¿Recuerdas Fresqui-Top?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I received an email from a reader with the question: “What’s ‘fresqueto’? My Salvadoran husband told me it’s a popular drink with kids in El Salvador but when we went to the store he showed me a canister of Kool-Aid.”

Well, at first I thought she had misunderstood the word “refresquito” (a little refreshment/drink) but to make sure, I asked Carlos. Immediately Carlos responded, “Oh, she means Fresqui-Top.”

Apparently Fresqui-Top is a powdered drink that comes in packets of various fruit flavors just like Kool-Aid. This is what Carlos drank in El Salvador when he was a boy.

Do you remember Fresqui-Top?

(Image source)

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas

Torrejas are kind of like French Toast and in El Salvador as well as in other parts of Latin America, they’re eaten during Semana Santa (holy week, Lent, and Easter), with a special homemade syrup. One of the things that make Torrejas more amazing than your average homemade American French Toast is that after it’s fried to a golden brown, it’s cooked a second time in the syrup. The type of bread used is also important, as your common white sandwich bread will not do! Salvadorans use thick slices of a bread called “torta de yema” but it’s difficult to find in the United States. Good substitutes for torta de yema include Challah or “pan de leche” (milk bread.) Challah can be found at some grocery stores and the “pan de leche” I used for this recipe was from a Latina bakery.

Another ingredient I want to explain a little is the “dulce de panela.” Panela is an unrefined brown sugar and it looks like this:

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in plastic)

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in dried corn husks)

dulce de panela
(Salvadoran “panela”)

If you’re unable to find Salvadoran “panela” at your local Mercado Latino or International Market, then you can substitute about two 8 ounce Mexican piloncillos or about 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Ready for the most amazing French Toast experience of your life? Then you’re ready to make Salvadoran Torrejas en Miel!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

First, How to make the “miel” (syrup):

You need:

1/2 of a 28 oz. panela (So, about 14 ounces. For substitutions see post above.)
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.)

2. Boil for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

3. Lower heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. (Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little. Note that the liquid is a thinner consistency than American-style syrup or honey – that’s okay!)

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. (The liquid will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.)

5. Now this is ready for the Torrejas! Set aside and continue below.

How to make the Torrejas:

You need:

2 tortas de yema (or 2 loaves of Challah, or milk bread/pan de leche)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups 1% milk
8 eggs

Canola oil for frying
a batch of “miel” (the recipe above)

1. Slice the bread into thick slices, (about 1 inch thick or a little more.)

2. In a large shallow dish, beat the eggs, milk, salt and sugar until well combined. (You can use an electric mixer for about 1 minute.)

3. Dip the bread slices into the egg/milk mixture one-by-one, allowing them a few seconds on each side to soak up the liquid. Fry in oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, being careful not to crowd the slices in the pan. (My pan only fit two pieces at a time.) Flip when golden brown and cook the other side the same.

4. When each slice is golden brown on both sides, remove to a large rectangular baking dish or Pyrex lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F.

6. When the entire batch has been fried, carefully remove the paper towels from beneath the torrejas.

7. Some people cook the torrejas in a frying pan with the miel, but I find baking them works great and is much easier. Pour 1 cup of the miel onto the torrejas in the Pyrex, making sure that all get some of the “miel” on them. (Avoid including any of the cloves.)

8. Bake at 350 F for 5 to 10 minutes.

9. Serve with additional miel to drizzle on top.

Note: You will probably have leftover miel. This can be put into a jar and refrigerated. Use it in other recipes such as Jocotes en Miel or Nuegados!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas

Una gata, un sapito, y un perico

gaty

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Ayer Carlos me enseño un vídeo para la canción “Gaty Zumbao” por Las Nenas de Caña, un grupo musical salvadoreño.

Después de verlo, desafié a Carlos – “Piensa en dos más vídeos musicales de El Salvador que cuentan con la tema de los animales.”

¡Se tomó menos de cinco minutos!

El Baile del Sapito – Grupo Bongo

(¿Quién necesita CrossFit? El Baile del Sapito es buen ejercicio.)

El Perico Preguntón – Los Caballeros del Sabor

¿Puedes pensar en otra canción salvadoreña acerca de los animales?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Yesterday Carlos showed me a video for the song “Gaty Zumbao” by Las Nenas de Caña, a Salvadoran music group.

After seeing it, I challenged Carlos – “Think of two more music videos from El Salvador that are also about animals.”

He took less than five minutes!

El Baile del Sapito – Grupo Bongo

(Who needs CrossFit? “The Little Toad Dance” is good exercise.)

El Perico Preguntón – Los Caballeros del Sabor
[Rough translation: “The Nosey Parakeet” by Los Caballeros del Sabor.]

Can you think of another Salvadoran song about animals?