It’s amazing how this Mexican form of bread could be a 2nd-cousin-twice-removed (probably on its mother’s side of the family) to the Jewish Matzah; and on its father’s side of the family, it could be a cousin-by-marriage to the Arabian flat bread, or the Far-East pita bread.
2 cups Quaker Masa Harina
1 cup cold water
Mix Masa Harina [or see “Recipes” tab for my imitation] and cold water into a smooth dough, adding just enough more water to keep it moist and smooth. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized balls. Work with one at a time, keeping the rest in plastic bags so they won’t dry out.
Roll each portion into a paper-thin circle between two sheets of waxed paper and stack (with wax paper between layers). Then – just as if you’re making pancakes – brown them very lightly on a slightly oiled, hot griddle. Keep them soft, not crisp. You can freeze them to use in other recipes, within 6 months – or refrigerate to use in a week. Makes 12 tortillas.
Combine all-purpose flour with yellow or white cornmeal and cereal. Sift the mixture together 3 times and store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 60 days. Multiply the ingredients as needed. Makes a good understudy for the commercial corn flour.
Put everything in a medium-size bowl and mash it with a potato masher – or use your fingers, which were invented before forks. Squeeze the ingredients together until they all cling lovingly to each other. Shape into 2 balls of equal size – about the size of a croquet ball. Roll each in finely crushed pecans or walnuts and arrange on saucers, wreathed in fresh parsley sprigs. Chill cheese balls wrapped well in plastic wrap, until time to serve. Keeps refrigerated well, if covered, for up to a week. Each ball, accompanied by assorted crackers, will serve about 8… Or 4, with bad manners.
Mix flour with butter until crumbly, using pastry blender or 2 forks. Work in cheese, cayenne pepper and paprika. Sprinkle mixture with cold water, mixing as you would a pie crust dough and trying not to handle it too much. Shape into ball and roll out ¼-inch thick on floured surface. Cut with small round cookie [or biscuit] cutter dipped in flour.
Transfer circles to a Pam-sprayed or lightly oiled cookie sheet, placing 1 inch apart. Preheat oven to 350°F and bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove carefully with pancake turner to let crackers cool on paper towels. When completely cooled store them in a metal tin, with a tight-fitting lid, at room temperature for 7-10 days. Makes about 3 dozen crackers.
Sprinkle meat lightly with garlic powder. Put in heavy casserole [dish] or Dutch oven.
Mix together remaining ingredients, except carrots, and pour over meat. Mix well, cover, and bake in preheated 325°F oven for 2 hours or until meat is very tender, adding carrots during last 15 minutes of baking. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
4 ounces (liquid) coffee cream or heavy un-whipped cream
In top of double boiler, over simmering water, melt unsweetened chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips with light rum and butter, beating until smooth. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and (liquid) coffee cream or heavy un-whipped cream.
Assemble layers of my Exotic Chocolate Cake with one recipe of my Buttercream Icing (see “Recipes” tab) and then cover the top and sides with this Ultimate Exotic Icing. Chill before serving 8 to 10, lavishly.
NOTE: Icing may be thinned to spreading consistency, if too thick, with a little more rum or a few teaspoons of hot coffee.
Quite a while ago, from a description given in a Detroit area newspaper of an exotic, chocolate cake (the recipe of which was locked in a bank fault), I set out to duplicate a cake of this kind, using only the clues given in the newspaper article.
Both semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate, real butter, coffee cream and whipped cream were a few of the ingredients mentioned. But having read so much incorrectly written newspaper articles, I wondered if this cake was described accurately.
To be sure that such a cake could be possible, I took the most celebrated chocolate cake recipes I could find in my 27-year-old recipe files and tried to determine what each of them had in common. From those clues, I developed the following combination of ingredients and, after preparing the cake – complete, with the 3 layers, filled with my Buttercream Icing and frosted with my Ultimate Exotic Icing. [See “Recipes” tab.]
I delivered the finished product to the editor of the Richmond Review – the newspaper in which the story first appeared about “the recipe locked in a bank vault”. It was enough to get me an interview for a weekly column in the paper!
8 ounces butter
2 ounces corn oil
2/3 cup sifted granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 ounces light rum
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup Half-and-Half or buttermilk
(Note: the original recipe called for 4 ounces, heavy, un-whipped cream and 4 ounces light cream)
2 cups cake flour, measured by spooning lightly from box into a measuring cup
[+ 1 recipe of my “Buttercream Icing” (see “Recipes” tab)]
[+ 1 recipe of my “Ultimate Exotic Icing” (see “Recipes” tab)]
Cream butter and oil for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sifted granulated sugar. Also, sift in the packed brown sugar a little at a time, continuing to beat with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Over hot water, melt rum with both chocolates until smooth. Beat into creamed mixture, adding salt, soda and alternately beating in cream with cake flour, beginning and ending with the cream. Beat 5 minutes with last addition. Spread batter equally between 3 greased, 9-inch, round-layer pans that are lined with a circle of waxed paper, also greased and floured.
Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick. Cool the layers in pans 15 minutes and invert onto paper plates lined with greased waxed paper so that you can more easily assemble the cake. Refer to my Buttercream Icing recipe, [p. 195] in this chapter, for assembly instructions. [See also, reprint below.]
FOR ASSEMBLY: When cake is completely cold, spread buttercream icing ½ inch thick between the layers. When applying the 2nd layer of cake over [icing], secure it in place by inserting thin wood skewers at 4 “corners” and center, through both layers, to keep the top layer from slipping.
Then place cake in the freezer for 15 minutes before applying the remaining [icing]. Keep the remaining buttercream icing covered and refrigerated during this time. When you remove the cake from the freezer, apply another half inch thick layer of [icing] and return it to the freezer for another 15 minutes to be sure it is “set”…
By Gloria Pitzer, as seen on her 2002-2004 “Free Recipes” and ordering information sheet.
Imitating the menu item specialty of a famous steakhouse was no simple challenge! It’s a very creamy onion soup with just a hint of nutmeg and cheese. At home, I recreate it this way…
2 cans (10-oz each) [condensed] cream of chicken soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 slice each – Kraft “Singles” sharp cheddar and Swiss
In top of double boiler, over gently simmering water, combine ingredients just as listed, tearing cheese slices into bits as you add them. Stir until smooth and it comes to a serving temperature. Serves 5, famously; or 6, sparingly. Do NOT freeze this. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly covered, to rewarm within a few days.
½ pint [heavy whipping] cream, whipped; or 9-oz tub Cool Whip
2 small pkgs lemon pudding & pie filling (not instant), prepared as box directs; or use 4 cups canned “Thank You” brand
Prepare cake mix per box directions, baking it in 2 layers. Freeze layers and slice across, to form 4 thin layers, using toothpicks inserted in the sides to guide your knife. Meanwhile, combine, in a medium-sized bowl, cream cheese and whipped cream and set aside.
Prepare lemon [Cook & Serve] pudding, as box directs [or use 4 cups “Thank You” brand (ready-to-use pie filling)], removing any skin from top of cooked pudding, as it cools (if cooked from scratch). Combine pudding and cream cheese mixture.
Assemble layers of the cake, dividing [cheese] filling equally between the 4 layers. Let filling drip down the sides, artistically. Frost top only (not sides) in more whipped cream or Cool Whip. Freeze and serve as you would [any other] frozen dessert. Serves 8, nicely.
In saucepan, combine sugar, dates, and water. Cook a few minutes, until thick, stirring often. Let cool and set aside to use as filling.
Combine everything else, blending well [then] dividing it in half. Press half into a greased 13-inch oblong baking pan. Spread filling evenly over that. Sprinkle rest of crust mixture over filling and press lightly to achieve an even crust. Bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes or until light brown. Cut into 30 bars while warm. Dust in powdered sugar. Refrigerate to use in a week. Freeze to use in 3 months.