Quesadilla Especial Salvadoreña is one of the dishes I prepared, last Saturday, for the reception after my talk on Salvadoran food at the Los Angeles Downtown Library. Recipe below.
Thank you Culinary Historians of Southern California for the invitation. A big thank you to Sandeep Gupta and Vanessa Luna for organizing the event, and to Jeannie Park, from the hospitality committee, for coming to my house to help me prepare just over 400 samples for the reception afterwards. In the menu, quesadilla especial, vanilla custard with cinnamon, braised Salvadoran red beans, white bean with pork soup and chicken in alguashte (pumpkin seeds) sauce.
My presentation was a complete success!!! I will be honest with you, I was a bit nervous, it was my first public speaking engagement. The nerves soon dissipated when I saw the people that took the time to come and listen. Thank you all for attending and for all the love and support.
A big thanks to my friend, and famous cookbook author, Faye Levy, for taking the time to write the thoughtful post on Facebook about the event, and to her husband, Yakir Levy for all the photographs and video. I am truly grateful to both of you and cherish your friendship. Last but not least, thank you to my husband, attorney Joseph Maher, for your unconditional love and endless support.
It was a such thrill to be introduced to my talk by the legendary Charles Perry, President and Founder of the CHSC. Another highlight of the event was meeting Dr. Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett, an archaelogist, and main pottery investigator at Joya de Ceren in El Salvador. Also known as The Pompeii of America, Joya de Ceren was preserved intact under 16 feet of volcanic ash, and is a pre-Columbian Maya farming village dating back to around 600 AD. At the site, archaeologists have found, fields of maize and yuca, fruit trees like cacao, guava, avocados, herbs, beans and much more. Joya de Ceren is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Talking to Charles Perry. Photo by Yakir Levy
Quesadilla is our most popular pastry. Salvadoran quesadilla is a sweet baked cake with a cake-like texture, is similar to a sour cream cake. The sesame seeds add a nice texture and flavor. This dessert is truly unique to El Salvador.
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Salvadoran crema or sour cream
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the flour and double-acting baking powder, sift again, and set aside.
Grease a 10-inch round or 10 x 8-inch rectangular pan.
In a deep bowl, beat the eggs well at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, grated cheese and crema (sour cream). Continue mixing for about 2 more minutes. Add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, mixing after each addition for about 30 seconds.
Once the mixture is fully incorporated, pour evenly into the greased pan, and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until firm and the top is golden.