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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quesadillas Salvadoreñas (rice flour muffins)

A friend and colleague was retiring, so we were having a little morning coffee celebration for him.  I needed something I could make easily on a weeknight that would keep until late the next morning.  These rich, little bites seemed to fit the bill.  (Though I have to say, I had to go to three grocery stores before I found rice flour!)

The recipe I used, patched together from several others, gave me mini cakes that weren't as decadent as what I had envisioned in the first recipe I reviewed -- precisely was what I was looking for.  I would like to go back, though, and try that original recipe (from Global Table Adventures), because I think they would be more unique.  These were good, but everyone thought they were cornbread.  In fact, fine cornmeal would be a suitable substitution here.

Here's what I used:

3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) melted butter
1/2 cup grated, hard (añejo) cotija cheese*
2 cups rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds, preferably toasted

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cream together the eggs, sour cream, half and half, sugar, butter, and cheese.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and add to the creamed mixture; blend until well combined.  Divide evenly into 24 greased muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they have a golden brown edge, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for several minutes in the pan until they are firm enough to handle, then gently remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Just like good little soldiers.

*Cotija añejo is harder and drier than cotija fresca, which can be quite moist.  You can substitute any hard, white cheese -- Parmesan is frequently included.  Consider the salt content, though.  The cheese I used was quite salty, but I still chose to add a small amount of salt after tasting the batter.  If you use a less salty cheese, you might want to increase the salt quantity.  Or not -- I'm sure it's delicious either way.  It's purely a matter of taste.

Conclusion:   Tasty!  Very easy to make, and the quantities are forgiving.  They're sweet and buttery, with a slightly grainy texture similar to cornbread, but very soft.  They smell cheesier than they taste, so don't worry too much about the type of cheese you use.  They would be excellent served with a plain raspberry puree.

Original recipes:
I started out with this one from Global Table Adventure, but was concerned about the comments that they were too greasy.  This one from Qué Rica Vida seemed a little fussy, with the separated egg whites.  Also, the directions aren't entirely clear, but it was very similar to the first.  This video with recipe by Francisca Bo sounded authentic, but had dramatically different proportions from the other two.  It seemed more like a standard cake recipe rather than rich, buttery little bites.  I also looked at this recipe by Sabores en Linea, but it was unnecessarily challenging to convert and I questioned the proportions.

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