Anatomy of a Polvorón with Minerva Orduño Rincón of Muñeca Mexicana Handcrafted Food
See also: FnB Line Cook Minerva Orduño Launches Muñeca Mexicana Product Line
Mabel Suen Anatomy of a Muñeca Mexicana polvorón.
When you're cooking, it's all about a dash of this and a splash of that. But baking is another matter, an exact science. In this series, we're going behind the bakery case and into the kitchens of some of Phoenix's finest purveyors of sweets (and some savories). Fresh out of culinary school, Chow Bella contributor Mabel Suen will work with local chefs to learn their tricks for making perfect pastries, baked goods and desserts. Stay tuned for findings once the flour settles.
The Baked Good: The Polvorón
The Chef: Minerva Orduño Rincón
The Place: FnB Restaurant
Minerva Orduño Rincón is the type of chef that never stops cooking. When she's not slinging hot pans as a line cook behind the close quarters and reach-over counters at FnB Restaurant, she's there behind closed doors preparing products for her brand new business baby.
Mabel Suen Minerva Orduño prepares her Muñeca Mexicana products at FnB Restaurant.
With Muñeca Mexicana Handcrafted Food, she recreates her favorite foods from growing up in Hermosillo, Sonora, like the delicate and flavorful polvorón.
On a quiet Monday afternoon, FnB is a shadow of its usual self outside of its business hours. There's no busy conversation and fast moving food flying directly from the cooks' station to diners' tables. Instead, a blanket of calm covers the restaurant as Orduño patiently and methodically preps her personal comfort foods.
A large pot of Cajeta de Celaya, or slowly-evaporated goat milk caramel, sits on the stove begging for a stir every now and then, and a countertop full of clear glass jars awaits on standby a bit more patiently for her Mole Poblano.
"Some people knit while they watch TV," she says. "I de-seed hundreds of peppers."
With her line of handcrafted foods, she hopes to dispell the unfavorable notion that Mexican food is just tacos, beans, and rice by supplying authentic items that aren't offered anywhere else in town.
The idea started in her home kitchen, where she'd stay up all night testing recipes to relive her sweetest childhood memories, like running by a bakery with her mother and sister after school to grab treats like Coyotas, or piloncillo-stuffed pastries, and her beloved almond cookies.
To Orduño, the perfect polvorón is very crumbly, fragile and grainy yet tender. The bite-sized cookies are sweet and nutty, and they have added fragrance and flavor from orange zest and just a hint of lard. Her polvorones have a natural nut color from toasted almonds and come dipped in ganache or garnished with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
Finding the ideal shortbread style cookie to suit your nostalgic needs requires some trial and error. Orduño started out with a recipe from one of Mexican cooking guru Diana Kennedy's cookbooks. Then, she spent time trying out variations from different cultures including Mexico, Germany, and Russia, pulling out the best elements from each. Read on for her tips to help with your own experiments.