During my trip to Nicaragua, I had the opportunity to stay with a host family in San Ramon. My roommate, Sally, and I had the great pleasure of staying with Neyda and her family. We enjoyed many wonderful meals at Neyda’s home. One evening our ecotour group were treated to an evening of native Nicaraguan food and music. It was wonderful and highlighted by a light shower and a gorgeous rainbow.
The food served that evening included an unusual, sweet yet savory corn cake, baked in an outdoor wood-fired oven. The cake was baking when we arrived and like hungry baby birds, we all flocked to see what was in the oven. Our hostesses were kind enough to share the cake while it was still warm. Heavenly! The three photos below were taken the night of our dinner in San Ramon.
Once returning home, the hunt was on for corn cake. My sister-in-law, Betty, discovered a similar recipe and shared with our ecotour group. I baked the corn cake to share with my gal pals with wonderful feedback. By chance, I also brought a bowl of fresh pineapple and found it to be a wonderful side dish to serve with the bread. This recipe is slightly sweeter than the cake in Nicaragua, but was delicious. A winner! However, I will continue my search to match the exact experience of our memorable Nicaraguan dinner.
NOTE: During our special evening in San Ramon we were also served the traditional Nicaraguan Nacatamal, a steamed corn cake filled with meat and vegetables, steamed in banana leaves. They, too, were fabulous and will be covered in a separate post at a later date. Stay tuned!
PERERREQUE (CORN CAKE)
1 pound fine white corn meal (I used regular white corn meal and ground again with the food processor)
1 pound crumbly cheese, grated finely (try Monterey Jack or Wensleydale)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ cups milk
Place the cake mixture into a greased baking pan. The mixture should be about 1 inch thick.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden brown. After this time, remove it from the oven, allow to cool and then cut into small pieces or squares before serving. I found the bread to be at it’s best when served warm, about an hour after baking.
Adapted from The New Internationalist Food Book