Inspired by a desire to try the Pioneer Woman’s Tres Leches Cake recipe, I planned a Mexican feast for last weekend. As a sort of side note to this post, I want to refer you to an excellent post I just read about kid’s cookbooks. I absolutely agree with this article, that kids can learn to cook from any book that inspires them to work toward making good food an important part of their lives. I think the Pioneer Woman cookbooks do this, and are especially excellent for kids to use because the photos show how each step should “turn out.” In addition, every recipe I have tried from these two cookbooks has turned out wonderfully. As you can see, we added a fruit salad to the side of our Tres Leches cake to make it more authentic. It was a big hit, and I strongly recommend you try it today! Eden followed the recipe step by step. It was her first time making a sponge cake, and it turned out wonderfully.
To accompany the cake I made a wonderful deep fried concoction called in Spanish Molotes but which my family calls affectionately, “salsa cars.”
Originally inspired by the Rick Bayless cookbook, I attempted this recipe without having eaten them before, but soon thereafter was describing the dish to a friend from Oaxaca. She couldn’t believe that I knew the dish, saying they were a “plato tipico” from her country. She soon invited us to eat them at her home, and sure enough, I had made molotes myself! In fact, I still use the Rick Bayless recipe with some alterations, because her recipe did not include the mashed potatoes and the dough was not as tender.
If you have not tried patting out corn tortillas before, this is a good recipe on which to make the attempt, as it doesn’t matter at all if you leave them quite thick, or if they do not turn out round. Also, the dough is a little more forgiving than regular corn tortilla dough.
This recipe makes 14 molotes, enough for a hungry family of 4, but stretched to fit our family of 6 with beans, lettuce and vegetables on the side.
2 potatoes, boiled until tender and then mashed.
2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound queso fresco
Oil for Frying
Boil and mash the potatoes, and then put them in a mixer bowl with the masa harina, salt and start with about 2 cups water. Add enough warm water as you beat the ingredients together to make a very soft dough — like a soft cookie dough. As the ingredients mix together, take an old plastic grocery bag and cut out two circles about 8 inches in diameter and wash with soapy warm water. Dry thoroughly.
Take a big spoonful of the dough, roll into a ball, and pat out into a circle on the plastic bag circle. You should make about a 6 inch diameter circle. Cut a 1/2 inch by 3 inch rectangle of queso fresco and place in the center of the dough circle. Fold the circle in half and pinch the edges together. Using wet hands, pat it into a torpedo shape and place on a plate covered with plastic wrap to wait while you make the rest of the molotes.
Heat the oil at a depth of about one inch to 350 degrees (I don’t use a thermometer, I just test for sizzle by dipping the edge of one of the molotes into the oil.) Fry the molotes a few at a time, turning after about 2 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.
Serve as shown in the photo, with refried or pot beans, sliced lettuce and salsa.
I consider trying new cuisines an important part of our homeschool. We love getting to know a little about peoples and cultures by trying new foods. Is that something you enjoy? Please leave me a comment.