Sometimes I find myself looking so dedicatedly at East Asia and France for culinary inspiration that I forget how many wonderful flavors exist in the rest of the world.
Being in Miami has been the wake up call that I needed to check out all the hidden (to me) gems in central and south America. Who knew you could pair guava and cheese in so many sweet ways? That things like churros, tres leches cakes and flans could be such a staple but could also be taken to the next level? (And right about now you are probably realizing how sheltered and ignorant my pastry knowledge is....but the point is that I'm doing my best to branch out, so please let it slide this one time please).
One day I went to a location that can only really be described as 'other worldly'--where local fruit farmers sold their produce next to people who seemed to have woken up that morning and thought 'you know what? I think I'm going to sell everything in my attic today!' Children ran about with snow cones dripping sugary syrup everywhere. Middle aged women sold everything from toothpaste and dresses to stereos and phones that were clearly knock-offs and/or purchased on the black market. Older men sat back in chairs surveying the scene wordlessly. Food stalls were haphazardly squeezed between a handful of actual restaurants, and everything seemed to be a cash-only, haggling-necessary system.
Out with my chef and his wife, we all split up to find different elements of our meal before sitting down to eat it all. My chef arrived with three ginormous containers of fresh drinks--without knowing what any of them were! I sipped at one and immediately was taken back ten or fifteen years.
It was horchata--and a good one at that.
Horchata reminds me of my older brother, who discovered the drink one of the times we were down in Arizona, and sought it out at every opportunity after that. The problem with horchata is, it is tied with Spanish and Latin American culture, and is not particularly present in the midwest where I grew up.
Thinking of my family, past travels, and my current surroundings, I decided to create some kind of dessert with horchata, and ended up with these donuts.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
4 T butter
2/3 cup horchata (homemade or store bought--but be careful about the amount of sugar if you buy it from the store!)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a donut pan.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.
- Melt the butter and mix in with the dry ingredients. Add in the egg and horchata, and mix well.
- Pipe the batter about 3/4 of the way up the donut molds, and bake for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and cool completely before glazing.
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons horchata
- Mix the powdered sugar and horchata until smooth, and then drizzle over the cooled donuts.
- Top with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon if you like.