I hate waste, so when I found 3 ears of fresh corn in my fridge from a food delivery two weeks back, all I could think is Pan de Elote. My mother made this quite often when I was little and it was one of her favourite healthy treats for us. I have done nothing to the recipe other than translating it. It is perfect as it is, but I will say, this cake is best eaten while still warm, as it is crunchy in the outside and soft and moist in the inside. As it cools off, the crust softens and it somehow lessens the eating experience.
During early lockdown, my timeline on social media was loaded with sourdough starters and banana bread loaves. It was everywhere! People were stuck at home, unable to go anywhere, so they turned to the kitchen to find comfort and reassurance. Ireland ran out of flour and yeast was like gold dust! Seriously, the first thing I cooked were chocolate, chilli, booze laced cookies! I called them dooms day cookies!
This recipe has been a long time on the making. I've had a tin of guayabas in syrup in the pantry since last year as I wanted to develop a recipe to show people in Ireland how delicious they are, something tasty and easy enough that showcases this gorgeous tropical fruit that has a ton of vitamin C. So this was on the back of my mind for a while. As you can imagine, life has been incredibly busy lately.
Two weeks ago (was it really only two weeks?!), life as we knew it was sent packing and most people were sent home for a series of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID19 virus that's causing havoc all over the world. For a couple of days, I went into free-fall and full on panic, thinking what was going to happen to my business, my staff and myself. That day, we cancelled all classes for the foreseeable future, my anxiety levels went through the roof.
After 17 years in Ireland, I've grown use to missing things... I miss my family and I miss seeing my niece and nephews grow. I miss a lot of birthdays, christenings, weddings and of course funerals... I miss friends, I miss the sun, I miss my mama's cooking and my papa's rants. I miss fruit (papayas or mangos never taste right here) and truth be told, I miss taco trucks too. I miss the running up to Christmas and the Christmas markets and I miss the buzz of Independence month in Mexico every September...
This recipe was born pretty much out of sheer greediness and a tiny bit of research. I'm quite partial to a good chocolate torte and while devising a vegetarian menu for one of my Supper Clubs at Picado, I experienced a deep craving for a chocolate torte with a Mexican twist. So I put my thinking cap on and within a couple of hours, the bones of this recipe where pretty much there.
I don't know about you, but I have A LOT of cookbooks and food related books. I seem to be completely unable to resist them. Naturally, I have a soft spot for Mexican inspired ones. Sadly, good, authentic Mexican cooking books in English are hard to find. A lot of Tex-Mex inspired ones, but very little to excite me.
When I think about Traditional Mexican desserts, I normally think of toffee/milk based sweets or fruit pastes. I personally think that, traditionally, Mexicans are more of a savoury kind of people. A lot of our sweets are either sickly sugary or spicy. We don't tend to make cakes for dessert; cakes are more for birthday parties, christenings, weddings, more 'big' occasions rather than everyday.
If you ever stop by the shop and I'm there, you'll probably hear me talking about Piloncillo. It's one of my favourite Mexican ingredients and since it's so unknown in Ireland, I'm always going on about it. A lot of people look at it in its package and ask what that is and if they give me 5 minutes of their attention and are not afraid to taste a bit, they go home with a pack of it totally converted.
I absolutely adore the harvest season holidays: Halloween and El Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead) always play a huge part of my life in Ireland. We decorate the house, I make a spooky party for my little Irish niece and nephew and I go crazy with the trick or treat bowl, so the few kids that knock on our door (we live in a very settled old area) go home with real treats, not just shop bought ones!