Fresh, flavorful fixings to spice up a fiesta


October 11, 2006|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

Baja! Cooking on the Edge

By Deborah M. Schneider

Fiesta on the Grill

By Daniel Hoyer

Gibbs Smith, 2006, $19.95

The latest cookbook from Daniel Hoyer, a chef in New Mexico, offers grilled and smoked recipes with influences from a range of Latin American countries and the Caribbean. The dishes are fairly casual, built around a first chapter of dry rubs and marinades, and most of the ingredients are easy to obtain. Suggestions for seven menus at the back of the book are handy for entertaining.

Though it's not made on the grill, Hoyer's Mexican Chile-Chocolate Cake is an excellent demonstration that peppers (in this case, ancho chile powder) can be an effective stealth ingredient in chocolate desserts, adding spark rather than heat. The chile powder enlivened the chocolate flavor and just whispered its presence.


Mexican Chile-Chocolate Cake

Serves 6 to 8

10 ounces Mexican chocolate, or semisweet chocolate, plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons strong hot coffee

1 stick ( 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla or other premium vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder, lightly toasted (for a hotter chile hit, use guajillo or New Mexican red)

1/3 cup toasted almonds, finely ground

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in coffee.

Cream the butter with a mixer until fluffy; add 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating for 1 minute. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until well incorporated.

Beat egg whites on high with salt until soft peaks form, gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and beat until stiff peaks are formed and the whites are shiny.

Blend the warm melted chocolate mixture, extracts, chile powder and almonds into egg yolk mixture and then fold into egg whites alternating with the flour. Continue gently folding until all is incorporated.

Place batter in a well-buttered and floured 8-inch cake pan and bake for 35 minutes, or in individual souffle cups and bake for 25 minutes. Cake will still move slightly in the center when done. Garnish with powdered sugar and cinnamon or more chile powder or whipped cream along with toasted almonds or shaved chocolate.

From "Fiesta on the Grill"

Per serving (based on 8 servings): 407 calories, 6 grams protein, 22 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 107 milligrams cholesterol, 67 milligrams sodium

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