Monday, August 4, 2014

Celebrating Latin American Jewish Cuisine

Latin American Jewish cuisine is heating up restaurants and kitchens throughout the Americas. On Sunday, September 14 at 2:30 p.m., James Beard nominated cookbook author Jayne Cohen will lead a lively discussion about the mouthwatering food and the journey of the cuisine from early Sephardic influences to the current Jewish food landscape at the Museum. Some of the cuisine’s most influential food mavens will gather to discuss their take on the exciting blend of influences. The panel will feature: chefs Sam Gorenstein and Leticia Moreinos Schwartz; food writer Susan Schmidt; and anthropologist Ruth Behar.
A reception featuring tasty Latin desserts will follow.
To whet your appetite, we thought we'd share the delicious recipe below. Purchase tickets to the event here.

Brazilian Crème Caramel

(Pudim de Leite)

From Leticia Moreinos Schwartz

Almost every cuisine has its version of flan, but what makes the Brazilian take so special is the use of sweetened condensed milk, lending a smooth, silky and velvety texture to the dish. Another difference is that this recipe is prepared in a blender or food processor. I’ve added a bit of heavy cream and extra yolks to expand upon this velvety texture that I like so much.

Beloved by all Brazilians for special occasions, this pudding is perfect for Yom Kippur break-the-fast and other dairy menus, as well as a treat for drop-in guests during the fall holidays. You can prepare the dessert up to 5 days ahead of time and only invert it the day you are serving.


Serves 6 to 8


For the caramel:

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons water


For the flan:

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 2/3 cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

3 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Equipment: Round cake mold, 8 inches wide and 2 inches deep (or 4 individual ramekins)


To make the caramel: 

  1. Place the sugar and water in a clean heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook the sugar over high heat without stirring, until it turns into an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the caramel into the cake mold and swirl it around making sure the caramel evenly covers the whole bottom of the pan. You don’t want to have any concentrated lumps of caramel in any part of the pan. Be advised that the caramel will continue to cook once it’s off the heat, so work fast.  Set the pan aside.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.


To make the flan:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the flan in a blender or (ideally) a food processor, until smooth.
  2. Carefully and slowly pour it into the prepared caramel pan. Transfer the caramel pan to a large roasting pan and fill it with warm water so that it comes half ways up the sides of the pan. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the center of the oven and bake until the custard is set, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  3.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Transfer the custard pan to a wire rack. Let it cool at room temperature then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It’s important to invert the flan only when it is chilled completely, otherwise it might break.
  4. When ready to serve, run a smooth knife around the inside of the cake pan. Place a large rimmed serving platter on top of the cake pan, and holding the pans together with both hands, quickly invert the flan onto the platter. Hold the pans so for at least 1 minute to make sure all the juices of the caramel fall onto the platter.

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