When I was a wee lass, I used to help my mom make sopes. I'd sit there on the counter and tortear the masa (tortear comes from the word tortilla. Its has become a verb), pinch the little edges and make little baby sopes for myself. That is the only memory I have of cooking with my mom. Growing up, she was the cook. She provided all food for us. If we wanted to help, she's hush us along to do our homework. Fast forward to a 19 year old in college and I knew NOTHING of how to cook.
This is what a sope is supposed to look like:
What I have more memories of, however, is baking. I'd help my mom crack eggs, use the hand blender to make pan as a desert for my dad. Of course, the pan was actually Betty Crocker pound cake or chocolate baked in a bunt cake mold. Not until I was about 13 did I learn how to make an actual cake with frosting in the middle. It always seemed like the whole "ship in a bottle" thing. How did these AMAZING people get the frosting in the middle? Well, I learned. Just how I learned how to make french toast when I saw Kelly dipping a perfectly beautiful white piece of bread into egg yolk . . . my sophomore year in college.
Now, what I am most comfortable with is baking. I love to bake. I never really knew I did. I know I enjoyed it with my mom: scooping up the cookie dough, tasting the vanilla cupcakes raw, etc. But I never knew it was something I could accomplish myself, let alone make elaborate things like Tres Leches.
Tres Leches is a pretty traditional Latin American dessert, much like flan and arroz con leche and tamales dulce (sweet tamales) strawberry or pineapple flavored, however, this is a cake. I hadn't tackled it yet because I thought it was just too hard. How do you get the milk to soak up in there? It must be magic, is what I thought. But this last weekend, I decided to challenge myself in honor of my mom's birthday. My family doesn't have a HUGE sweet tooth, but one thing they all can agree on is that Tres Leches is yummy. I thought, its now or never.
I went to one of the many food/baking blogs I go to called Lottie + Doof They have the most amazing display of (mainly) sweet stuff I have seen. The photos make my mouth salivate, and even though most of their food looks fancy and gourmet, its is still looks easy enough to make and not intimidating at all. So I decided I'd make their recipe of Tres Leches because by looking at their gorgeous picture, I asked myself "how can I pass this one up!". So I was going to get armed and ready. Usually the day before I go shopping, I look at the recipe to figure out what I have at home and what I need to get, I write it all down on the recipe and add up all the ingredients if it calls for one item more than once. I had a question about the sugar, so I asked my friend Devon, (pastry chef extraordinaire) and sent her the link to the recipe. She suggested to me that I try a different Tres Leches, something a little more traditional. Looked at the ingredients of one and the other and agreed with her. If I was going to do this, I was going to do this as authentic as I possibly could, but I just could NOT get the image of that whipped almond topping and blackberry coulis out of my head. I decided: I'll add them together.
So that I did. I used the Tres Leches recipe she found for me on allrecipes.com and I used Lottie + Doof's blackberry coulis and almond cream. A little bit tradition, a little bit fancy, which is how I roll. Instead of blackberries though, I used my favorite berries: raspberries.
Needless to say, the cake was a hit, even I was impressed. I was worried the whole time because with all the milk it said to add to a punctured cake (with a fork) it was not absorbing. But since I took it to my mom's set it in the fridge, then we cut it 2 hours later, all the milk had finally sunk it. With each slice, I added a little bit of raspberry coulis and tada, success.