My Mother in law is a great lady, and is an excellent cook. I think I can hold my own, but she has mad skills that can turn three tiny dabs of saran wrap covered leftovers and a hunk of meat into a meal for six (four univited). I am always bringing something a little diffferent to holiday meals and she politely tolerates my weird cooking, even if I believe she just wishes I would make some damn brownies and shut up about it. She knows about the layers too, I am guessing. She loves me anyway. And I her.
For Christmas we are bringing tamales from my favorite local Mexican Chef, Mayra. (She says she is a cook, I say she is a Chef. I am not giving in.) I sampled them today before the big dinner tomorrow to make sure they weren't poisoned, and they were delicious. DELICIOUS. DE - LI - CIOUS. She makes a great spicy avocado sauce for them too which is so good I could eat it by itself.
I am on tamale and dessert duty for Christmas and no.. I am not making brownies. Or pie. Considering our Mexican theme, I am making this:
Daisy Martinez's Chocolate-Chile cake
|Let's hope mine resembles this, even slightly.|
The cayenne will make the fam raise an eyebrow, but just one, they are used to me. "That girl. Another layer. Chocolate that is SPICY? "HOT" chocolate, but not "HOT CHOCOLATE?". Weird. In fact, she is a little weird.." I think my father in law is a closet weird eater, so he always likes my crazy offerings. So, that and my husband will even out the votes for me. Phew.
As a back up, and for the kiddies, I am also making this monstrosity of sugar, below. It was very easy, and seems like you could add any old thing you wanted to change things up (fruit and jam were mentioned). I am going with plain, for my little plain Janes who will be at the gathering. And for German-born Opa, who will not want to even consider spicy chocolate. This cake was a layer of very thick cheesecake with breading on both sides, and a whole lotta butter, cinnamon and sugar. It used whomp cresecents (you whomp them on the counter to open them), but don't judge. Wish me luck with both! I hope I can get them all done before Santa gets here.
**Post Holiday Wrap-up**
Below are the desserts I made, post dig in (I always forget the before photos -CURSES!). We ate so much prime rib, tamales and homemade refritos, so we weren't as hungry for dessert as we should have been. No matter, we went for it anyway. The Chocolate-chile torte was RICH. It made me feel that it would be better served as candy, as even a small-for-holidays size slice was a whole-lotta-chocolate. I couldn't finish all of mine. Still, I thought the flavor was really good and the spice level was just right for those who have a more adventurous palate. I served vanilla bean ice cream with the slices (recipes suggested cinnamon, but I couldn't find any) and the duality of the cool and the heat was really nice. I like duality. I added pomegranate seeds to mine too, for a festive look. Ole'!
Give it a shot, but slice those slices THIN To WIN. Below are photos of the carnage.
|I seem sweet, but I am also spicy. Me, or the cake? You decide.|
The fam gave the torte nice-but-mixed reviews. No one disliked it, but I had a few "It's really different.." responses and everyone agreed it was very rich. Opa had already said whatever those things (tamales) were at dinner, he was ok if he never had one again, so I didn't push my luck with spicy cake. Ole?
On to the cheesecake!
|This was fluffier initially. |
It was a little deflated by the end of the holiday, as was I.
This was a winner with most everyone, although I (and several other online reviewers) found it to be a little TOO sweet. No duality at all here, folks, just sweet goodness. I think one could cut the sugar on the top by at least half, and I didn't drizzle with honey as I think it would have sent me into diabetic shock. This kept very well in the refridgerator, and as suggested, was pretty good as a cream cheese danish the morning after Christmas. And this morning. Don't judge.
You're judging, aren't you?