Late in April each year the Cinco de Mayo ruckus begins. Ads on television air, local restaurants sport signs about Cinco de Mayo happy hours and don strings of red, green, and white flags, grocery stores advertise their specials full of bagged chips and cheese sauce in jars, and Twitter is abuzz with questions about what everyone will be making for their Cinco de Mayo parties.
“Interesting” but far from authentic variations on tacos and guacamole surface, there’s talk of new-fangled margaritas and cerveza, and for those interested in dessert, margarita cupcakes seem to be everywhere sporting that perfectly swirled, creamy top. “You want it with or without salt?”
One of the things I’ve learned over the years about food is that often, the recipes that have a reputation for being fussy are anything but. Souffles are a great example of this. Think of all the times you’ve seen a cook depicted making a souffle that failed to rise, or had fallen because of a loud sound. Why would the average cook want to waste time and ingredients on something that temperamental?
Honestly, I’ve had more trouble with brownies and biscuits before, but I’ll chalk it up to approaching a common recipe with little or no thought and then blowing it when I least expected to. The fussy reputation of a souffle keeps me in line, and so I pay attention when I’m making one.
If you’ve never tried one, you should. They’re perfect for a light meal on a weeknight because you will nearly always have everything you need on hand: eggs, milk, a bit of flour, and whatever you’d like to flavor it with. If you’re like me, your cheese drawer is always in need of attention and the combinations are just about limitless.
Just remember — it’s all about the size of the dish.
I’m notorious for rarely making a recipe more than once. I have been known, however, to make a dish again and again with a new recipe each time. I know this isn’t a novel concept, and I guess some may consider it crazy. For example: You’ve been invited to a dinner party and you’ve volunteered to make dessert. Because the menu is featuring Mexican cuisine, for a split second, you’re tempted to try Budin de Cajeta con Moras you tried last time the dinner group got together for Mexican, but no, because you saw a recipe for flan with hazelnuts in a recent issue of Food & Wine. Of course time got away from you (better known as procrastination) so you relied yet again upon Google and a search for Tres Leches knowing something new would come up.
Of course it did. I’ve made Tres Leches cake, and Quatro Leches cake but this one seemingly had a different spin, so how could I resist?
I couldn’t. This cake wasn’t destined to stay in the pan while the milk was poured over it. No, it needed to be turned out of its pan, cooled, flipped, and then subjected to the milk bath. Yes, I had to find out what could happen.