Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Looking for a Recipe for Pastel de Azteca

When we were talking to caterers about our 50th anniversary party, one of them mentioned the possibility of serving Pastel de Azteca. I had not heard of Pastel de Azteca so I've been searching for recipes. There seem to be many. In a way it is like a Mexican lasagna....there are lots of ways to make it. When I first started reading about it, I immediately thought of King Ranch Chicken....a recipe, maybe not this one but a version of it, that was a good old standby for groups while the children were growing up.

Tonight I tried one called Pastel Moctezuma. It is the second recipe in this article in the Herald Mexico. It turned out just so-so. If I were to make it again, I'd double the poblano chilies, make the mixture of the sour cream with cilantro, garlic, and onion like from Zarela's cookbook which I can't find at the moment and I'd double the mole. I used the Oaxaca cheese but the next time I'd try the panela cheese or maybe another cheese altogether like a cheddar cheese. One thing we have noticed is that the Asadero and Oaxaca cheeses seem to be smoother and saltier in the USA than we find here in Mexico.

Diane Kennedy has a recipe for a Budin Azteca or Moctezuma Pie that is similar but with Cheddar cheese. She says it is "A rich casserole of layers of tortillas, chilies, chicken, cheese, and cream, this makes a very substantial main course and is best served simply with a green salad." Another casserole in Diane's book, The Cuisines of Mexico, is Pastel de Tamal which uses tamales instead of tortillas.

I'm going to keep trying and adapting Pastel de Azteca recipes until I get my very own Mexican casserole/lasagna. I'll keep you posted but if you have one that you like, please send it my way.


Anonymous said...

Hi Billie
I've adapted a recipe for "Pastel Moctezuma" from the Creme de Colorado cookbook. I won't give the details here -- basically the same as you've tried (but without the corn), but the sauce is made with tomatillos (tomates verdes), mixed with cooked onion, jalapenos -- the number would depend on how spicey you like your sauce -- , and cilantro.
Also, you might try manchego cheese (grated).

Billie said...

Mary, Thanks for the idea of the salsa verde. I had thought about the manchego cheese or maybe 1/2 manchego and 1/2 cheddar. If you have the recipe already typed up, I'd appreciate it if you would email it to me. My email address is on the right side.
I'm also planning on trying a pastel azteca with a picadillo filling. But that recipe also calls for mole and I think that with the mole and the cheese you end up with too much fat in the dish.
The tomatillo sauce would definitely help cut down on the fat calories.
Thanks for the comment.