I recently spent a little time down in San Miguel de Allende where they have over 2000 restaurants within the city limits.  The city is beautiful, tucked away in the mountains butted up next to a gorgeous lake.  They have endless amounts of restaurants to choose from, high end to low end.   We ate twice at one of the cities best restaurants called

Moxi

which is on Pellegrino's top 50 restaurants list and enjoyed two really good meals.  We also had two really great meals at

Calenda

where the chef uses a lot of local ingredients with modern techniques.   Those two where probably my two favorites as far as high end restaurants are concerned.  We also had Italian, and of course mexican.  I could probably write a whole post on just the restaurants in San Miguel but I won't at this time.  San Miguel is a great town to go, relax, eat and enjoy a slow pace of life.

When I returned back to work I try to create dishes that are inspired by dishes or flavors that I have had.  In this case, the recipe I created was more taking the flavors that are common in Mexico and applying them to the whole dish and not from any particular dish I ate while being down there.  I made this wonderful sorbet from the cactus pears I picked from wild cactus growing all around our property. If you pick them when they are soft and ripe they are extremely sweet, but do be careful of the needles.  I also had these humongous mango's that I wanted to make into a curd.  I juiced the mango's and took the left over pulp, pureed it, then dried it to also make mango chips.  I added some spicy candied pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut flakes, and finished the dish with a sweetened cilantro/coconut/lime air.    Lots of big flavors and textural components in this dish and when eaten all together it really turned out to be home-run.

Mango Curd

3 cups of fresh mango juice

4 egg yolks

1 whole egg

1 cup of coconut milk

1 lime juiced

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp of beef gelatin

1 stick of butter cold

Coconut Crust

3 sticks of butter room temp

2 1/2 cup of flour

3/4 cup of sugar

1 cup of coconut flour

1 tbsp of mexican vanilla

5 tbsp of cold ice water

1/2 tsp of salt

Cactus pear sorbet

2 cups of cactus pear juice

1 1/4 cup of water

2 cups of sugar

1 limes juiced

Cilantro lime foam/air

3/4 cup of coconut milk

3 tbsp of sugar

1/2 cup of coconut water

1 bunch of cilantro

1 tsp of lecithin

1 tsp of

sucrose esters

Chipotle Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup of pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 tsp of chipotle powder

1 tsp water

1/4 cup of powder sugar

1 tsp of salt

2 tbsp

Pomegranate Gastrique 

1 cup of roasted shaved coconut

1 lime zested

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

For the Crust,

Place butter and sugar in a stand mixer and cream together for 3 to 4 minutes.  Then gradually add your flours and salt, a little at a time to incorporate.  Finish by adding the water until the dough comes together.   Wrap and place dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Then take out, dust with flour and place between two pieces of parchment paper .  Roll out the dough to fit the size of a half sheet pan ( no more than 1/4 inch thick)  Then place in the oven for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.  Take out and let it cool to room temperature.

Mango curd,

In a medium sauce pot place mango juice, coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, egg yolk, egg, and whisk together.  Turn the pot on medium low stirring for 10-15 minutes until it thickens.  Then stir in the butter and finish with the gelatin.  Pour the curd into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until completely cold or place in an ice bath to cool.  (*Note.  If I made this again I might try to use 4 whole eggs and not just the yolks and maybe no gelatin.  The curd was thickened a bit but still seemed a little too loose, so I add the gelatin at the end because I was afraid it would set right.  The amount I added to the curd was perfect because once it chilled completely it was the perfect consistency for the tart.  )  Once completely cool pour the curd over the crust and spread evenly with a pastry spatula.  Place back into the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes to set.

For the cactus pear sorbet

Place cactus pear juice, water, lime juice and sugar into a small sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.  Then cool down completely.  Place into a ice cream machine and use according to your ice cream machines instructions.  Once down, place into an air tight container into the freezer.

For the pumpkin seeds

Place water, powdered sugar, chipotle powder into a bowl.  Mix well and then add pumpkin seeds and salt.  Place onto a non stick silpat and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown,  stirring every 5 minutes.    Take out and let it cool to room temperature

For mango chips,

Take left over pulp from juicing mango's and puree until smooth.  Then on pour on non stick silpat and spread into a very thin layer with an off set spatula.  Place into a dehydrator over night (12 hrs)  Take out and place into an air tight container.   Reserve for later

For the cilantro air,

Place coconut milk, coconut water, sugar, and cilantro into a blender.  Puree on high for about 30 seconds until the mixture becomes a nice shade of green.  Taste the mixture and adjust anything if need be.  Then pour into a tall container.  Now with a hand blender mix in the lecithin and verswhip for 15 seconds to fully incorporate.  Foam by blending just above the surface of the liquid.  Air should be light and hold its shape.

To finish the plate,

Take a small round cookie cutter and cut a round out of the mango tart.  The top with a pinch of lime zest.  Then place a few drops of pomegranate sauce down.  Place the toasted pumpkin seeds on top.  Then add a little coconut chips down next to the mango tart.  Add a quenele of cactus pear sorbet on top.  Add a scoop of cilantro foam, and finish with a blackberry and the mango chip in the sorbet.  Serve and enjoy!

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