Tuesday, January 12, 2016

39. Horchata Tacos with Rum, Strawberries, and Whipped Cream


I wanted to accomplish a couple of specific tasks with this latest recipe:

Number one:  another dessert taco!  Since I knew I would be leaving town for several days for a jazz conference, I wanted to knock out two recipes in one day - one sweet and one savory!  I also knew that I'd have some company, since my sister was visiting from Seattle!  What a perfect time to try out some taco recipes!  :)

Number two:  I wanted to try using my taco shaper/fryer that my other sister put in my Christmas stocking.  Up until now, I had used ready-made soft taco shells, ready-made hard taco shells, and homemade pancake/crepe style shells.  I even made a cookie shell for my PiƱa Colada Cheesecake Tacos.  I had never tried frying my own, though.  I thought a crispy fried flour tortilla sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar would make a delicious shell!

What to fill it with, though?  I've already done apple tacos and banana tacos - I didn't want to revisit either of those, yet.  Then it hit me - horchata!  :)

Horchata (if you're not familiar with it) is a delicious Mexican drink made from rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon.  It's definitely too thin for a taco filling, but I figured I could use the idea of a cream pie filling as inspiration.  If I could add some rice and cinnamon, it would TASTE like horchata, but hold up in a taco shell.

After that, the rest of the recipe came to me pretty easily.  I felt that strawberries would add a fresh element.  I knew that whipped cream would be the perfect finishing touch.  I decided to add some rum to both the filling and the whipped cream, because . . . well, just because.  :)

See what you think!  Here's the recipe:

Horchata Tacos with Rum, Strawberries, and Whipped Cream

Makes about 12 tacos, serving 6 to 12


For the horchata cream filling:

1/2 cup long-grain white rice (uncooked)
2 and 3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. rum

For the strawberries:

One quart container of strawberries, washed, hulled, and chopped
1 tbsp. honey

For the whipped cream:

1 half-pint container of heavy whipping cream
A large splash of rum (if desired)
A pinch or two of sugar

For the taco shells:

12 small flour tortillas
Canola oil for frying
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

I had never used these before, but I found them at AJ's (gourmet grocer), so I figured they would be good.
Made in Tucson, so you can't go wrong, right?
1.  Prepare the rice for the cream filling:  Place the rice in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup or shallow bowl.  Cover generously with warm water.  Allow to soak for about 8 hours (or overnight).

2.  Start the filling: Drain the rice.  Add the rice and milk to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.

Transfer to a medium saucepan.  Whisk in the sugar, flour, and salt.

Cook and stir the mixture over medium-low heat until it boils and thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Taste, cooking and stirring for a couple of more minutes (if needed), until the taste of raw flour has dissipated.

3.  Complete the filling:  Place the eggs in a small bowl.  Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten eggs.  When the mixture is smooth, return it to the saucepan and continue to cook and stir for another two minutes.  The mixture should be smooth and quite thick.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cinnamon, butter, vanilla, and rum.  Whisk to combine.  Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.  Re-blend with a hand blender if you end up with any lumps or if you want it to be extra smooth (I did!)  Cover, pressing a sheet of plastic wrap into the top, and chill for several hours.

4. Combine the sugar and cinnamon (for the taco shells) in a bowl.

5.  Make the shells:  Heat several inches of canola oil (enough to submerge the tortillas in a taco shaper) in a large saucepan over medium high heat until the temperature reaches 375 degrees.  (I like to use a laser thermometer.)  Using a taco shaper, lower the flour tortillas, one at a time, into the oil.

Cook until golden brown, about 30 to 90 seconds.  Immediately transfer to a large tray or baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, shaking off the excess.  Repeat this process with all twelve shells.  As they start to cool, transfer them to a plate.  Cool completely.

6.  Make the whipped cream:  Place the cream in a medium bowl and add rum and sugar to taste.  Whip with a whisk until soft peaks form.  You can also use a hand mixer.  Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the tacos.

7.  Prepare the strawberries:  Combine the chopped strawberries and honey in a medium bowl.

8.  Assemble the tacos.  Transfer all of the horchata cream filling to a quart-size Ziploc bag.  For each taco, place a shell on a plate.  Snip one of the bottom corners off of the Ziploc bag and fill each taco with a generous amount of the horchata mixture.  Top with a spoonful of the strawberries.  Finish with the whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Wow.  These were awesome!  They were also very rich.  I served them to my parents, sister, brother, and sister-in-law, which was great because there was no way Steve and I would have eaten all of these.  We still didn't eat them all.  They are so filling that we only had one each!

They didn't fly with the little nephews.  They didn't even want a taste - too weird looking, I guess.  Ha ha.  Oh, well.  They also contain rum (a trace, anyway) so that's probably for the best!  The adults loved them, though.

These make a mess.  They require a little advance planning and a couple of specialty items (the taco shaper, the high-powered blender, etc.)  They're worth it, though - delicious!  It was fun to have some guests to test this recipe - it's usually just me and Steve.  :)

I will definitely be doing something like this again.  The possibilities are endless . . . coconut cream tacos . . . chocolate cream tacos . . . coconut/chocolate cream tacos . . . ?  Mmmmm.

Well, there you have it!  What do you think?  Please feel free to comment below!  Thanks for reading!

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