Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Baker Man of Patzcuaro

Nearly every day, Alejandro the Baker Man comes out of his family's home bakery with the glass and wood showcase on his head. He deftly moves the case from the folded towel pad on his head to a "tijeras", or scissor stand. He makes his rounds of Pátzcuaro's Plazas.
The case is full of little pastry treats, the best of which are Empanaditas de Carne, delicate, hot turnovers, filled with picadillo or tuna. The thick, crumbling shortbread polvorones are super, still warm from the oven. 

Today, I met his father, Javier, who also sells the same baked goods and who taught Alejandro how to make them and sell them. Javier told me that all their products are artesanal and made by hand, without machines, then baked in an horno de barro. We are regular customers, and I can count on Alejandro to show up several times in the late morning and early afternoon, particularly at the corner of Calle Ibarra and Plaza Vasco Quiroga. The empanadas are available in a variety of sweet fillings as well, among them leche, coco o piña. Among the products are envinados or "rum cakes", "cream puffs" filled with cajeta, and especially, a moist, crumbly pastel de naranja.

Javier and his son Alejandro offer some of the true street food treasures of Pátzcuaro. I recommend their product to you. Look for them.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Super Higos

Fine fat fecund figs DuBosque. Super Higos.

Really, they are from a tree in the patio of our friends, the DuBosques. These, are indeed, "Super Higos". They are good to eat out of hand or halved and served with a dollop of crema.

They gave us several kilos of bursting, ripe fruit. The first batch went into a Fig Tart on an Almond Frangipane base with a sweet pastry crust.

For a Labor Day Weekend cookout, I wrapped each whole fig in a half slice of Wright's Thick Sliced Hickory Smoked Bacon. (We get it at Sam's Club in Morelia.)

Note the grilling basket in the above photo. It keeps precious morsels of crisping bacon from falling into the coals of the grill. While they grilled, I prepared a very simple reduction of balsamic vinegar with rosemary. When it was reduced to half its original volume, I strained it and added a tablespoon of dark, local honey and some black pepper. As the wrapped figs were done, they were passed into the shallow pool of balsamic sauce.

I'd researched goat cheese stuffed bacon-wrapped figs on the Web, and I'm sure that they are great, but this approach was very easy. The guests loved them.

Below is a video clip of "Women In Love" that may be the final word on figs and their eating.
Note: this video may not be workplace-safe.