By Cindy Grosz
This week I will be preparing for Saturday’s celebration of Cinco de Mayo and Shabbos in a unique way. For me personally, it is my favorite party to participate in, filled with delicious food and drink, fun decor and always a memorable event.
Cinco de Mayo is NOT a religious holiday, it is a celebration of heritage and pride, which commemorates the Mexican’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, and all of us can appreciate a battle won for freedom and democracy.
For Jews, we can use it as quality family time to learn about Mexican-Jewish roots. Both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews have rich histories in Mexico, dating back hundreds of years. Mauricio Umansky, reality television star, openly discusses his background on The Housewives of Beverly Hills. Louis C.K., the Emmy and Grammy winner, and artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, although not practicing Jews, have ancestors of the Jewish faith.
In 1935, Rivera wrote, “My Jewishness is the dominant element of my life.” Conversos, were Jews that were forced to convert to Catholicism, and some even dared to practice their Judaism privately and with great risk.
Now for the food, decor and entertainment. You can make your party simple by bringing in some prepared tacos and rice dishes from supermarkets and restaurants, or you can create everything from appetizers to desserts to fit every menu and diet. What is great about Cinco de Mayo is that celebrations occur before and after the exact date.
Most people associate the words refried and fattening with Mexican dishes. However, Mexican food can be healthy. Think fruits and veggies, like jicama, tomatillos, chayotes and of course, limes, peppers, chiles and avocados.
Mexican Lime Tequila Tart
- 1 box graham crackers
- 1/4 cup pine, or any other nuts, like papitas
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus one tablespoon for topping
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup Blanca tequila
- 2 large egg whites
Topping Options: whipped cream, fresh lime slices, lime zest nut options, even make a meringue topping
Preheat oven to 325°F.
To make crust:
Crumble graham crackers into food processor and finely grind enough to measure 1.5 cups. Transfer to a bowl. In food processor pulse pine nuts with sugar until finely ground. Melt butter and cool to lukewarm. Stir nut mixture and butter into crumbs and press evenly onto bottom and up side of tart pan.
Squeeze enough juice from limes to measure 1/2 cup. In a large bowl whisk together lime juice, condensed milk, yolks, and tequila until just combined well. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat whites with sugar until they hold soft peaks. Stir one fourth meringue into milk mixture to lighten and fold in remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.
Spoon filling into crust. Bake tart until edges of filling are puffed but not browned and center seems almost set when gently shaken, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool tart completely on a rack. Chill tart, loosely covered, until cold, about 2 hours, serve. Don’t make this more than a day ahead.
Decor can be simple and inexpensive by purchasing Mexican sombreros, tiles, pottery and cloths. Use bright colors. And of course, have plenty of tequila and sangria on hand for a most memorable gathering.
Good Shabbos and Ole!!!