Wednesday, December 1, 2010

spotlight on: cajetas!

mango, coconut, sweet milk, mystery flavor
Cajetas in some cultures refers to a dessert made from milk (condensed, goat, you name it). In Nicaragua, they are a very Granadino delight... sold year round in individually portioned baggies or on styrofoam variety platters.  The basic gist is that a cajeta must be sweet, but that is about the only rule. Some are in pasty/pudding forms, some are hard as rocks, and some are like sticky caramels. The ingredients are any number of sugars, grated fruits, candied fruits. They often, but not always, have ginger, coconut or milk. Many, many, many are dyed pink with framboise, to make them 'mas alegre!', I think. 

Elsa also gets to wash the burnt pot afterwards
In town, cajetas are not made from scratch, they are mass produced for sale. However, it is rather easy to make certain flavors from scratch, and it's a great way to cook leftovers or pantry items that are soon to spoil (note: not fun to clean up).

I don't particularly crave cajetas on their own, but I have fun discovering local products that I can then showcase in my dishes. In this case, we made basic thumbprint cookies stuffed with my favorite flavor- a soft tamarind/coconut blend- ¡que rico!

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