Chocoflan- Delicious Mexican Treat

So most of you know what Flan is, the lovely vanilla custard with caramel sauce that makes your mouth water.

Now how could such a thing get better? Add chocolate.

Paloma is sharing a sweet dessert her children love at home, and a great pairing option for your Mexican Mole Fiesta.  Now fret not if you are just making a little mole for you and one or two others, the Chocoflan is well worth the addition cooking, and somehow I bet no matter how big your crowd is you will all be members of the clean plate club.

Ingredients:

12 oz. Can Evaporated Milk
14 oz. Can Condensed Milk (Paloma loves La Lechera)
6-7 eggs (3 for flan and 3-4 for cake)
2 Tbs Vanilla Extract (pure is best)
1 Standard box cake mix (or your favorite chocolate cake recipe- one that makes a light fluffy cake)
1/4- 1/2 cup veggie oil (depending on your cake recipe)

Tools needed:

Blender, spatula, can opener, measuring cups and spoons, a mixing bowl, foil and 1 deep 9-10 inch round cake pan. (Alternatively, you can use 2 shallow 8-9 inch round cake pans as Paloma did in these pictures, depending on whether you prefer 2 short cakes with thin layers or 1 tall cake with thick layers.)

Instructions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Create a water bath (baño de María) by filling a large pan (large enough to fit your cake pan inside it) half full with water and place in the oven on a middle rack. You want the water to be roughly half the height of your cake pan.

Follow the instructions on the back of your standard chocolate cake mix to make the chocolate cake batter, set aside.

In a blender, pour the evaporated milk, condensed milk, 3 eggs, and 2 tablespoons vanilla. Blend until fully combined.

In a skillet on the stove over medium heat, add a 1/2 cup of sugar and stir continuously. You want the sugar to melt but, not burn. When the sugar is melted and a light golden brown color, it is finished. Immediately pour the melted sugar into the cake pan. Swirl the caramel until you have completely covered the bottom on the pan, let harden.

Pour the contents of the blender (the flan) into the cake pan with caramel. Pour the chocolate cake batter into the same pan on top of the flan mixture. Don’t worry if the two batters mix a little, as they will separate in the oven.

Cover the cake pan with foil and place into the shallow pan of water in the oven. You want the water level to be slightly higher than your flan layer. Once you have set the pan in the water, make sure the water level is low enough that no water enters the cake pan. Cook for 60 minutes.

Check the cake by piercing with a toothpick of knife. If it comes out clean, it is ready. If the cake needs to bake longer, continue to bake without the foil cover for an additional 5-8 minutes and then check again.

When the cake is done, remove the pan from the oven. Cool for at least 10 minutes before platting.

Place a serving dish over the top of the cake pan. Holding the serving dish against the pan with oven mitts or pot holders, flip the serving dish and cake pan at the same time, and gently remove the cake pan from the chocoflan.

Serve immediately or let the cake sit for 40 minutes to cool completely and then serve. You can eat Chocoflan either warm or cool, but Paloma prefers her chocoflan chilled.

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We <3 Substitutions: A World of Poblano Mole

That secret mole recipe…every Mexican family has one.

Whether it has an extra cinnamon stick, multiple types of peppercorns, a carrot, or extra peanuts, the one common thing among all these mole recipes is the large quantity of spices, nuts, seeds, and chilies that comprise that special sauce, which sometimes totals 20 different ingredients! No matter where in Mexico you travel, you will find some variation of Mole, but one state holds the crown for the tastiest and rumored home of mole, Puebla.

This month, we are debuting Paloma’s incredible family recipe for mole taught to her by, of course, her grandmother. This Mole Poblano is rich and sweet and full of layered flavor. Now, the box contains all the dry ingredients that make famous mole, but there are still a few ingredients that may be a little harder to find if you don’t have access to a Mexican or Latino market. Fear not: our team of recipe developers and testers have tested a plethora of substitutions to make for a tasty mole even if you can’t make it to the Mexican Market.

Bolillos are Mexican rolls. These rolls are dry, crunchy and are often used for Mexican sandwiches because they are known for not being too sweet.  Bolillos aren’t commonly found in regular bakeries, but they are a staple at any Mexican market or bakery. Can’t find a bolillo? Here is a common substitution to make sure you have a tasty, thick sauce.

French Bread/Roll

French bread worked well as a substitution, as it is the most similar to Bolillo bread, only with a rougher crust. Using french bread produced a richer and sweeter mole compared to Paloma’s recipe. The sweet flavor highlights the cinnamon, though, so beware!

Bimbo White Bread 

Do not be fooled: all white breads are not equal. We know it might be tempting to just swap out your bolillo for sliced white bread, but from our experience, we advise you to resist the urge.  We used the commonly found Bimbo sliced white bread and it was much too sweet for the mole! Instead of helping to bring out the mole flavors, it overpowered it. Most importantly, the mole lost its spicy kick!  Take our advice and avoid the sweet, soft sliced white breads.

Plantains are in the banana family but aren’t quite the peelable lunch variety. In mole recipes, plantains act as a thickening agent to help create a deeper flavor of the nuts and chocolate.  Plantains come in a few varieties and stages of ripeness. They are common in Mexican and Latino markets, but if you can’t find them at your local grocer, feel free to use these one of these two substitutions.

Unripe bananas

Using unripe bananas produced a flavor closest to Paloma’s mole. The consistency of this mole was slightly sweeter, creamier, and had a bit more kick at the end of every bite making for a nice finish.

Sweet Potato 

Using sweet potato definitely thickened up the mole sauce compared to Paloma’s mole, which produced a slightly grittier and less pureed mole that left us tasters with the occasional spicier bite. While the flavor wasn’t too far off from Paloma’s mole, make sure to add more chicken broth and blend for longer if substituting sweet potato for plantains, as they proved to be tough to blend!

Peanuts–to shell or not to shell? 

There are so many steps to making mole that we attempted to shortcut one, the shelling of roasted peanuts. Instead, we used pre-shelled peanuts. While the flavor wasn’t too far off from Paloma’s mole recipe, it did produce a slightly sweeter, thicker and creamier mole lacking the more full-roasted flavor when shelling peanuts yourself. If you want the real deal, set aside to the time to crack all the shells from those peanuts!

We hope this informs your grocery shopping efforts and saves you some time when looking for those less available mole ingredients that we can’t ship you in your CK Box!

Happy Mole-making!

The Culture Kitchen Team