Uncategorized

Loroco Filling for Pupusas

Loroco, thawing in water.

Someone from El Salvador told me that my Pupusas are pretty good. He tried to describe one thing that was missing, though. Something his mother used. He didn’t know the name…didn’t know how to describe it. What I took from his attempt was that it was some kind of small pepper that you ate with the pupusas. But he said you couldn’t find them locally. The closest store was more than 20 miles away. He asked his mother for the name and she said it’s called “loroco”.

Now, I had a name and could do some research! It turns out that it’s an unopened flower bud…similar idea to a caper, but not pickled. It does have a kind of briny, slightly sour flavor. It’s vegetal and very distinctive. I happened to find a package of frozen loroco at a local Latino store. You aren’t likely to find it in any other type of store. But, if you find it, I recommend you try it! If you’re exploring pupusas, this filling is pretty simple.

The pupusa techniques take a little more practice. It’s basically corn tortilla dough, made from masa harina, a bit thicker than a tortilla. It starts as a ball, about the size of a golf ball, formed into a little cup shape, a small amount of filling, cup closed, and then flattened…but not too thin. I use a tortilla press, but don’t flatten it completely. If a little filling is visible, its not a problem.

The pupusas are cooked on a hot griddle, a few minutes on each side, until browned. I have made a meat filling previously, and a cheese one. The loroco one is a variation on a cheese filling. I just kind of made it up, but had read a couple of recipes that call for farmer cheese. I used cottage cheese instead.

Started with about 1/3 cup frozen of loroco, thawed in some water, and drained. Add 1/2 cup of whole milk mozzarella, shredded.

Loroco and shredded mozzarella.

The next thing is 1/3 cup of cottage cheese, a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. While the pupusas are cooking, you can really smell the loroco. In fact, the person that told me about it, walked by while mine were on the griddle, and he recognized the smell! He tried the first one and I got his enthusiastic stamp of approval!

Loroco Pupusa

While in process, I missed the opportunity to get some photos that I should have, but I thought this would be worth posting anyway. There are instructions on making pupusas, elsewhere on the interwebs.

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Basic Flan

Basic Flan. Yum!

Flan. Not what most kids want for dessert. But, if you can get them to TRY it, many will like it. As an adult, with more mature tastes, almost everyone will appreciate it. Flan is a custard that is pretty firm, and is baked with caramelized sugar that becomes a syrupy sauce.

Many cultures have a version of flan, especially Latino and Hispanic cuisines. The one I am doing here is a pretty simple, basic Mexican style flan. I ordered a flan pan via the internet to cook mine in; however, you can use an 8″x3″ deep cake pan or something similar, with or without the water bath. Using the water bath, I believe is supposed to give a more even heat and a finer texture.

Here’s the recipe:

Basic Whole Egg Flan

5 whole eggs

1 can of evaporated milk

1 can of condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup granulated white sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to to 350F. Add sugar to a small saucepan, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. Pay close attention and stir often. Adjust heat as necessary.

Starting the caramel.

Sugar starting to melt. Stir!

In a large mixing bowl, add 5 whole eggs. (I remove the little white globs with a fork, or you could strain, after mixing in other ingredients.) Add condensed and evaporated milks and vanilla. Combine well, using a wire whip.

Eggs and milks.

When the sugar is completely melted, it should be a nice amber color. It will burn VERY quickly, so don’t push it too much and pay close attention! It will be extremely hot and sticky, so handle with care! I think I went just a bit too long, as some stuck to the pan and was hardened. (see photo below)

Caramel is ready!

Carefully pour the caramel into the flan pan or baking pan.

Caramel in the pan.

Ladle the egg mixture into the pan. I probably should have let the caramel set-up just a minute or two. We’ll see how it turns out. (see photo below)

Custard mixture added.

If using flan pan and water bath, affix lid to flan pan, place in a larger, oven safe dish, on a sheet pan or other larger baking pan. Add boiling water to the bath pan, coming halfway up the flan pan. Carefully transfer to preheated oven.

In the water bath and oven.

If not using flan pan  or water bath, just put baking pan on a cookie sheet onto the oven rack. Oven rack should be in the center of the oven. Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate for a least a couple hours prior to serving.

Out of the oven and cooling.

To serve, run a knife around the sides to release, invert a serving dish onto the flan baking dish. Make sure you have a dish that will hold the caramel liquid, without overflowing!

I used a pie plate to invert my flan onto.

Carefully, but quickly flip over, and then remove the baking dish.

Ta da!!! Looks like I should have let the caramel set for just a minute, but looks pretty good.

Some caramel hardened onto the pan. Next time, remove from heat sooner?

Heading to the fridge for a couple of hours.

Cut into servings, plate, spoon syrup over.

May be served with whipped cream and/or berries, if desired.

You can find versions of flan with various flavors, such as coffee, chocolate, pumpkin, almond, coconut, and more. Once you are comfortable with the basic recipe, try some variations! Enjoy!

UPDATE  (9/2/17)  Since the initial post, I’ve made a couple more flan and experimented a little. First, the hardened caramel kind of bugged me, so I’ve tried to remove it from the heat sooner…just trying to make sure its completely melted. I also have given just a couple of minutes before adding the custard mixture. I’m still getting some hardened caramel, though. But I’ve found that I can break it up, and either eat it like candy, or try to melt it in a sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of water and then pour it back over the flan, after it has cooled. Melting it again takes some time and constant vigilance, though.

Eat it,or melt it?

It has produced a better top surface…nice and smooth.

Nice smooth top.

Other experimentation, has been in flavoring variations. The above photo is actually a coffee flavored flan. I just dissolved some instant coffee, about 1/3 cup, into just enough water to dissolve it. I stirred than into the custard mix until well combined. I think it was very good.

The other variation, that I did today, was chocolate. For this one, I added 1/3 cup cocoa powder directly to the custard. It was a little messy and slow to get mixed in, but I worked at it and prevailed! Here are a few photos of that flan coming out of the pan:

Out of the oven and lid removed.

Smooth, glassy top!

Mmmm…chocolate.

Nice! Definitely has that cocoa powder chocolate flavor.

 

Standard