The New Bakers Dozen
Regional desserts

The The Bakers Dozen: Regional desserts
By Vincente on Thursday, February 17, 2000 - 07:12 pm: Edit

Someone asked me this question and I am not happy with the answer I gave. I was asked what are the considerations given toward creating a dessert for regional cusines not neccesarilly known for their dessert traditions? I told her that I take into account three basics things: flavors associated with that region, ingredients originating from that region, and forms occurring in the savory preporations of that region. I'm not sure, does one of you have a better way of putting this? What do you think?


By judymontreal on Friday, February 18, 2000 - 06:49 am: Edit

Vincent, using your criteria I mentally went through all the various regional cuisines I could think of. In almost every case your guidelines were accurate. The only exception that I could think of was Mexican cookery. It has always surprised me that milk and reduced milk products feature often in Mexican desserts and not in main dishes. Perhaps it is a good counterpoint to the spicy main courses. East Indian desserts lean toward milk products, but then again they often use yogurt in preparing main dishes. Dairy items are part of their repertoire. If Mexican desserts were not familiar to me and I had to invent one, I wouldn't think of using milk, reduced or otherwise. Interesting topic!

By momoreg on Friday, February 18, 2000 - 09:07 am: Edit

Judy, what about sour cream in all those burritos?

By momoreg on Friday, February 18, 2000 - 09:20 am: Edit

It's true, you don't know for sure if your estimations are completely accurate in every case, but I'd agree that flavors, available resources, and visual presentation are the three key considerations. Sorry if I came off rude, Judy, but don't they use sour cream in many of their tortilla-based dishes? Or is that how we adjust it to our heat-sensitive palates?

By W.DeBord on Saturday, February 19, 2000 - 09:23 am: Edit

I work with all Mexican men, from what I understand it's doubtful they regularly have sourcream at home in Mexico. To compliment their tacos (which are nothing like taco bell) they love avacados and cheese. What we know of their food even going to "authentic style" resturants are really nothing like their home regional cooking. They tell me this and cook snacks for us all the time at work. They laugh at what we think of as Mexican dishes.

P.S. They also insist they never eat desserts. Flan is the only dessert they mention.

By judymontreal on Saturday, February 19, 2000 - 12:15 pm: Edit

Oh, don't tell me i'm vindicated! Phew! I was a little embarassed. Actually I forgot about the sour cream in the burritos. (Probably because I don't care for them). I was thinking of all the beans and rice and shredded pork a "once-married-to-a-Mexican-lady" friend cooks for us and the dishes I make for my son who loves Mexican food or whatever we think of as Mexican food.
So, W., does that mean the milk desserts I have been making as authentic Mexican dishes are bogus? I guess so.

By Mikeh (Mikeh) on Saturday, February 19, 2000 - 12:40 pm: Edit

My wife spent a couple of months in Mexico -- real Mexico, not the tourist/resort areas -- staying with families in their homes and she says they rarely eat dessert. When they do it is flan or simply fresh fruit.

By Vincente on Saturday, February 19, 2000 - 06:54 pm: Edit

Mexican sweets as such are usually not consumed as dessert. Most sweets are consumed as confections or sweetened fruit or herb drinks, rather that the finish to a meal. In my earlier post, I was not thinking so much as to specific traditional regional desserts, but about guidelines for creating desserts for the western palate but within the structure of a regional cuisine. Looking back, I think the part of my original statement that I was unhappy with was that it did not mention pairing the dessert with the savory facets of the cuisine, but I'm not sure how best to articulate this to someone. I don't know, what do you think?


By Panini (Panini) on Sunday, February 20, 2000 - 09:57 am: Edit

I think I understand, and you probably put it right. As far as Mexican, I indulge in this cuisine everyday. You are right about sweets.
Some days we treat ourselves on sweetened and flavored rice water, I'd give you the name but it would mean nothing to you, we also have raisin,pineapple tamales. If we have a sweet after eating it is usually a candy,praline, coconut and gfoatsmilk candy or just a mango or fresh fruit.
Just like any other country cusine varies from town to town. Paring desse3rts with the cuisine will probably be your own style.

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