Nights have gotten longer, temperatures lower, and wish lists longer. All these signs point to one thing and there’s no doubting it — the holiday season is officially here. For different people, this season represents many different values, but there’s a one thing we can all agree on and that is delicious food. That brings me to the point of this post, a collection and celebration of tried and true holiday recipes from some of our favorite PVMers.
First off we have Eddie Mata’s Flan de Queso, inspired by his grandmother’s recipe. Flan is a classic Latin dessert comprised of a cream and egg base with a caramel topping for a custard finish. Here’s how to make it an addition to your holiday meal:
1 package bar of cream cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
*In a blender, add cans of milk, cream cheese, then the vanilla. 1/3 of a cup of sugar is optional, blend until smooth.
* Add 4 eggs to the blender. Blend lightly just a few seconds to get the eggs to mix in.
* Make caramel with sugar and water. Recommended not to use the nicer pots. As if not done right can stain some stainless steel pots. Use about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of sugar, saturate with water and bring to a boil. When it turns to a medium brown/golden color. Pour while hot into a ceramic or plexiglass baking dish. Careful not to burn it.
* Pour blender contents into dish.
* Bake at typical cheesecake temps, I think its 350 degrees. For 1 hour and 15 mins. Toothpick should come out clean. In a water bath (I use a cake pan with water in it that can hold the smaller ceramic dish within it).
* When it’s out, allow to sit 5-10 minutes. Separate the sides using a butter knife from the baking dish. Place a serving dish upside down on top of the baking dish and flip it over (like a pineapple upside down cake). Give it a couple gentle bounces to get it to separate.
My serving dish is a bit raised on the edges, so I have done this while hot.
Whereas Eddie’s philosophy of sharing his recipe seems to be, the more the merrier, it is not uncommon for chefs with prized dishes to want to safeguard their goods. Case in point, Charles Lampley, AKA “Lampdog”, and his mother’s infamous Mac and Cheese recipe. Of it he says, “Marivic would contemplate but never ever kill for!” Bummer, but hey if the stuffs truly to die for, who can blame em? Sydney Metzmaker is similarly quiet about her own Pecan Pie recipe, but only because she was sworn to confidentiality: “That’s my grandmother’s recipe, and I had to beg her for it. She doesn’t like to share that information out. She told me she would give it to me, but it must stay in the family. Sorry!” Even Eddie Mata has a threshold of holiday generosity — his prized roast beef recipe is under lock and key. “I have a classified roast beef sandwich recipe. Family only.” Looks like the only way to try these treats is in person
In fact, I completely relate. My family has a traditional holiday recipe that dates back generations, when my ancestors first immigrated to the United States from Wales, England. My great grandmother, a former cooking instructor, passed the recipe to my grandmother, who taught my mother and my aunts. The sweet is only ever made twice a year, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the loaves are always the first thing to disappear from the table. In preparation for the upcoming Turkey Day, I visited for the weekend and my mother made a few loaves. While I still don’t have the rights to the recipe, I was allowed to snap a few photos, which I’ll share here, along with a traditional recipe for the bread from online. My families version has been tweaked and perfected for well over a hundred years, so don’t expect exact results if you do give it a try, but here’s somewhere to start 🙂
1 cup hot brewed tea
3/4 cup dried currants
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup demerara sugar
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 egg, beaten
* Pour hot tea over currants and raisins in a bowl; soak 8 hours to overnight.
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
* Grease a sheet of parchment paper and use it to line a 2-pound loaf pan.
* Stir demerara sugar into tea and fruit mixture until dissolved completely.
* Mix flour and egg into the tea and fruit mixture until completely integrated into a batter.
* Spread batter evenly into the prepared bread pan.
* Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 40 minutes. Cool in the bread pan 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Enjoy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.