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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Salvadoran Quesadillas (Cheese muffin cakes)

In El Salvador, quesadilla doesn't mean the same thing as you might expect if you're used to the regular quesadillas popular in the Western world via Mexico. Here, quesadilla means a rich pound cake spiced with grated cheese, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. It's usually eaten for breakfast, and it's so sweet that it's definitely closer to a dessert than it is to an appetizer.

I made these right before leaving for a short trip to the mountains with friends and took it with me as road snacks. Everyone loved the unusual combination. 
The recipe calls for cotija, but that's hard to get around here. The closest you can get to the cheesy outcome you're aiming for is by using grated Parmesan cheese, or a similar grated hard cheese. The more aged the better, for extra flavor.
Recipe sources: Food52 and ElSalvadorTips.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Mushroom-olive tacos with spring garlic and onions (vegan) (Mexican-style).
Five years ago: Tzatziki kritharaki salad (Greek orzo pasta salad).
Six years ago: Mixed seeds and honey crunchy hearts.
Seven years ago: Baked Brie en croute with apples and thyme (French).
Eight years ago: Simplest veggie noodle soup (vegan)Caramelized onion and green garlic pizzaFruit skewers with molten double chocolate and Creamy pasta with green onions, muhrooms and ham (very light).

Ingredients (makes 12):
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as cojita or Parmesan
  • Sesame seeds, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C.

Meanwhile, whisk together the rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Then, in the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter with sugar. Drop in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides as needed. 

Next add in the sour cream, cheese, and rice flour mixture until a smooth batter forms. 

Beat it all until well incorporated. Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling each one 4/5th of the way up (this batter does not rise much). Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, to taste. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature - it'll taste like a cheesy pound cake. 

It's done, dig in! :)

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