Costa Rican Spotlight: Tres Leches Cake Recipe

Costa Rican cuisine is distinct in its flavorful, yet mild, taste. Rice, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables are key players in many dishes and the culture has a high reliance on home cooking. Family gatherings and celebrations will often revolve around meals.

The national dish of Costa Rica is Gallo Pinto, which translates to “spotted rooster” due to its appearance, and contains stir fried rice and beans, seasoned with cilantro, red pepper, onion and celery, and can be served with eggs, sour cream and cheese.

Other national dishes include Casado, which translates to “married man” due to wives making to dish for their husbands who worked the fields, Arroz con Pollo and Salsa Lizano. Tres Leches, a three-layered custard flan is the national dessert dish and today we are sharing a contemporary take on this dessert with Tres Leches Cake.

 

Tres Leches Cake

Total Time:     1 hr 30 min

Prep:     1 hr 10 min

Cook:    20 min

Level:    Easy

 

Ingredients

Cake

7 eggs (separated)

7 tbsp white sugar

7 tbsp flour

2 ½ tbsp baking powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Milk Mixture

1 ¾ cup evaporated milk

1 ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup eggnog

 

Icing

1 cup white sugar

3 egg whites

Juice of one lime

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 480 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on low until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing while adding egg yolks one at a time. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. Continue beating until mixture forms into a dough.

Place the dough into a medium, square glass baking dish. Place in the lower section of the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Move to the upper section of the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.

Blend the all ingredients of the milk mixture in a mixing bowl.

Remove cake from the oven and punch with a fork across the top of the cake to allow the milk mixture to penetrate. Pour the milk mixture over the cake and allow to soak for 20 minutes or until the cake is cool and the milk mixture has been absorbed.

Beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat while adding the sugar and lime juice. Spread the icing over the cake and serve immediately.

The cake should be refrigerated and can be kept for three days.

 

If you would like to find out more about how JNR can organize an amazing travel program where your top performers can experience the wonders of Costa Rican cuisine, please give us a call at 800.343.4546.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Tres Leches” by Chuck Wojack Jr is licensed under CC by 2.0

Cuban Spotlight: Cuban Flan

Cuban food is truly fusion cuisine with influences from Spain, Portugal, France, Africa, the Caribbean, China and of course, Native American Taino food. Garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves are used along with a sauce known as sofrito that gives the Cuban food its distinct flavor.

Dinner often consists of rice and beans with meat. For dessert it is typical to see a flan or caramel-flavored custard.

Today we are sharing a traditional Cuban Flan Recipe.

Cuban Flan

Total Time:     1 hr 20 min

Prep:     20 min

Cook:    1 hr

Level:    Moderate

 

Ingredients

1 ½ cups white sugar

¼ cup water

6 medium eggs (separated)

2 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 rind of a lemon

¼ tsp salt

1 cinnamon stick

Pastry brush

Baking dish filled with water to create a bain-marie

Flan mold (9” diameter)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the water and the sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the sugar to start melting and bring the mixture to a simmer. Wet the pastry brush and use it to wash any of the sugar from the sides of the saucepan. When the sugar mixture starts to thicken and turn brown, remove it from the heat and add a few ice cubes.

Coat the flan mold with the sugar mixture to cover the sides and bottom. Set remaining mixture aside.

In a saucepan, slowly bring the milk to a boil and add lemon rind, cinnamon stick and salt. When the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat and allow to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, egg whites, vanilla extract and remaining sugar mixture.

Pour this mixture into the milk mixture and then strain into the flan mold.

Place the flan mold inside the baking dish so that the water reaches half way up the mold.

Bake in the middle rack of the oven for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the flan cool and then place a serving dish flat against the top of the mold and turn upside down in a fast motion.

Serve and Enjoy.

 

By JNR Incorporated

 

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Miami – West Flager: Versailles Restaurant – Fland Cubano” by Wally Gobetz is licensed under CC By 2.0

Mexican Travel Spotlight: Mexican Sugar Skull Recipe

JNR stays close to home this month, with a journey through the heritage and culture of Mexico. Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, falls on the first and second of November and honors those who have passed. During these days, it is said that the spirits of the dead visit their families and loved ones. It is common for Mexican households to prepare altars with offerings for the deceased and to visit gravesites with gifts and decorations.

Rituals include making the deceased’s favorite food and serving it as an Ofrenda (Offering). These items may include tamales, Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread) and sugar skulls.

Sugar was first introduced to Mexico by the Italian missionaries in the 17th century and often used for decorations in churches as it was a cheaper alternative to the expensive European imports. Sugar skulls were incorporated in the Dia de los Meurtos rituals in the 18th century and have since been used to represent the souls of the departed. It is common for the skulls to bear the name of the deceased across the forehead and they are characterized by big happy smiles and colorful icing.

Today we are sharing a recipe for this vibrant tradition below.

Sugar Skull Recipe 

Total Time:     35 min

Prep:     10 min

Cook:    25 min (additional time for icing to dry)

Yield:   2

Level:    Moderate

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4” plastic skull mold

 

Icing Ingredients (additional required for decorating)

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • Desired food color

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and egg white in a bowl. Blend mixture together with your fingers.

Pack sugar firmly into the front and the back sections of the plastic skull mold. Using a spoon create a shell that is ½” thick in the mold. Place baking pan behind the mold and invert the mold onto the pan. Tap the mold gently to release the sugar skull as you lift the mold off. If the mixture crumbles add more egg whites. Repeat the process to make the second sugar skull.

Bake the sugar skulls for 25 minutes or until the surface feels hard and solid when lightly touched. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Using an electric beater on high, whip the egg white and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar.

Join the front and the back sections of the sugar skull using the icing sugar as glue. Let stand for 1 hour or until the icing is firm.

Repeat directions above to make additional icing sugar to decorate sugar skulls. Add the desired color and amount of food die. Using a pastry bag with a plain tip, pipe icing onto the sugar skulls in desired decoration. Let stand for 1 hour or until icing is firm.

To store, wrap airtight.

If you would like to learn about how JNR can organize a magical incentive trip to Mexico, where participants can taste the delights of traditional Mexican food first hand, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

 

Other recipes to check out:

Indian Spotlight: Indian Vegetable Biryani Recipe

German Spotlight: German Honey Cookies

South African Spotlight: Bobotie Recipe

United Kingdom Spotlight: Yorkshire Parkin Recipe

 

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By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Sugar Skulls” by Alex Alonso is licensed under CC By 2.0

German Spotlight: German Honey Cookies

The next stop on JNR’s journey around the world takes us north to Germany and the wonderful food this country is known for.

Germany cuisine has been influenced by neighboring regions as well as by changes in social and political parties over the centuries which results in variations from region to region.  Cakes and tarts are served throughout the country and cookies have become a popular accompaniment to afternoon tea.

Cookies began as luxury in the 18th century but were only affordable for the wealthiest in Germany due to the high price of sugar and other ingredients. Early German bakers wishing to make baked goods would substitute the honey instead of refined sugar in their cakes, pastries and cookies as it was Germany’s most readily available sweetener.

In the late 19th century a cheaper sugar derived from the beetroot become available and the working class was able to bake cookies for special occasions, especially Christmas, using sugar instead of honey.

Today, some German recipes still call for honey as a sweetener for its mild flavor and to add nutritional value.

Today we have a recipe for German Honey Cookies or Honig Plätzchen:

German Honey Cookies

Total Time:    30 min

Prep:     15 min

Cook:    15 min

Yield:    8 – 12 cookies

Level:    Easy

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup or brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening (butter flavored if available)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger

Directions

Line a cookie sheet with baking paper or grease it with butter.

Melt together sugar, shortening and honey in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside and let cool.

Mix together eggs, vanilla, baking soda and ground ginger. Slowly mix into the cooled honey mixture. Gradually mix in the flour. Stir until blended.

Use a teaspoon to drop mixture into uniformed balls on the cookie sheet. Leave 2 inches between each drop of mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove and let cool before serving.

If you would like to learn about how JNR can organize a fabulous incentive trip to Germany, where participants can experience the wonders of German food, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

South African Spotlight: Bobotie Recipe

After a fun and informative journey through the United Kingdom, JNR now takes a look at some of the fabulous elements that make South Africa top even a seasoned traveler’s bucket list.

Situated on the southern tip of Africa lies the multiethnic society of South Africa. It is home to eleven official languages, though English is predominantly spoken. South Africa has 1,739 miles of coastline which draws surfers, fishermen and shark divers alike. The countryside is diverse and beautiful with safari adventures and serene venues for wine tasting.

The South African cuisine is varied due to the diversity in this region. Both indigenous and immigrant food are found throughout the country and include influences from Dutch, German, French, Italian, Greek, British and Indonesian cuisine.

The recipe we have chosen to share with you today is of Cape Malay decent and is similar to a spiced meatloaf with some fun additions such as raisins and baked eggs. This dish is often accompanied by yellow rice, coconut and banana slices.  The recipe can be adopted with pork or lamb instead of the beef.

South African Bobotie

Total Time:    1 hr 45 min

Prep:     15 min

Cook:    1 hr 30 min

Yield:    6 servings

Level:    Easy

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 1 ½ pounds of ground beef
  • 2 slices of thick-cut bread
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 2 tbsp of apricot chutney (can be substituted for a mixture of apricot jelly and hot chutney)
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions

Grease and line a 9” x 13” baking dish with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions until translucent then add the ground beef and cook until brown.

Pour the milk in a shallow dish and soak the bread. Remove the bread and let the excess milk drain back into the dish. Add the bread to the beef and stir in raisins, apricot chutney, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.

Bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining milk and eggs.

Remove the dish from the oven and pour milk mixture over the top. Place the bay leaf on top.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the top browns.

Remove bay leaf and serve immediately.

If you would like to learn about how JNR can organize a magnificent incentive trip where participants can experience the wonders of South Africa, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.