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Recipes for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Today’s holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican war. Much like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in the United States than it is in its country of origin. In Mexico, it is a relatively minor holiday that is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla, where the unlikely victory occurred. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is used as an occasion to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage.

So gather up your friends and let the fiesta begin! These traditional Mexican recipes are sure to be a hit:

Soft Fried Tortillas with Tomatillo Salsa and Chicken Recipe (Chalupas Poblanas de Pollo)
Makes 12 chalupas

INGREDIENTS:
For Tomatillo salsa

  • ½ lb fresh tomatillos, husks discarded and tomatillos rinsed and quartered
  • 3 fresh green serrano chiles, coarsely chopped (including seeds)
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, quartered
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

For Chalupas

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 (4-inch) corn tortillas
    • Look for tightly stacked tortillas in packs of 50 (they can be frozen). They are pressed tightly together to retain moisture and freshness and are available in Latino markets and some supermarkets.
    • If you can’t find 4-inch tortillas, you can buy larger ones and trim them using a 4-inch cookie cutter or a paring knife.

DIRECTIONS:
Make Salsa:

  1. Puree tomatillos, chiles, onion, garlic, salt, and water in a blender until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then carefully add tomatillo puree (oil will splatter) and simmer, stirring, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and simmer 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.

Make Chalupas:

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200 degrees (F).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in cleaned dried skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then briefly cook tortillas, 3 at a time, until softened and hot but still pale, about 10 seconds per side, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer tortillas with tongs to paper towels to drain briefly, then to a large shallow baking pan in oven to keep warm arranging tortillas in one layer (overlapping slightly if necessary) and covering pan with foil.
  3. Spread each warm tortilla with about 1 teaspoon salsa, then top sparingly with a few shreds of chicken. Thin cream with a little water and drizzle over chicken, then sprinkle with onion and cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe via Epicurious.com

Three Milk Cake with Rompope
Makes 10 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS:
For Rompope syrup

  • 1 ½ cups rompope (a Mexican eggnog liqueur)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream

For Cake

  • 5 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to lukewarm

For Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups chilled whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1-pint basket strawberries, halved
  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
  • 1 1-pint basket strawberries, hulled, sliced

DIRECTIONS:
For Rompope syrup:

  1. Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Pour half of liquid into heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until mixture is reduced to 1 ¼ cups, stirring frequently, about 17 minutes. Whisk in remaining half of liquid. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Rewarm just until lukewarm before using.)

For Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Butter and flour 8-inch-diameter cake pan with 2--inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter and flour parchment. Whisk eggs and sugar to blend in large bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Using electric mixer, beat mixture constantly until thick, pale yellow, and tripled in volume, about 9 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Continue to beat mixture until cool, about 6 minutes. Sift flour over egg mixture in 3 additions, gently folding in each addition. Transfer 1 cup batter to small bowl; fold in melted butter in 3 additions. Gently fold into batter in large bowl, being careful not to deflate batter. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  2. Bake cake until top is deep golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto deep platter at least 2 inches larger than cake. Remove parchment paper. Using wooden skewer, pierce cake all over top, spacing piercings ½ inch apart and pressing skewer down to bottom of cake.
  3. Gradually pour half of lukewarm rompope syrup over top of hot cake, spreading over cake with spatula and allowing rompope syrup to soak into cake before adding more. Invert cake onto another large deep platter. Pierce cake all over top, spacing piercings 1/2 inch apart and pressing skewer down to bottom of cake. Gradually pour remaining rompope syrup over cake, spreading with spatula and allowing syrup to soak in before adding more. Let cake stand at room temperature until cooled completely, about 2 hours, occasionally spooning up any rompope syrup that collects on bottom of platter and drizzling syrup over cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For Frosting:

  1. Using electric mixer, beat cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Spread frosting over cake. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.) Garnish with halved berries and mint, if desired. Serve with sliced berries.

Recipe via Epicurious.com