secret recipe club: mexican mac & cheese and bakewell tart

i had already made my grocery list and planned my meals for this week when i realized two things: i totally forgot that it's time for the secret recipe club again and this week is cinco de mayo! i had browsed rachel cotterill's blog and bookmarked a few recipes right when i got my assignment, not even thinking about mexican food. once i realized my blunder, i read through the list i had bookmarked and easily chose this mexican mac and cheese! while not spicy, it went over really well in our house with a toddler and preschooler. for dessert, i made one of my favorite combinations: almond and raspberry in this bakewell tart. i knew the tart would taste great, but both jason and i were surprised at how light it is. i assumed the almonds would make a heavy, dense cake, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. and while rachel and i don't have much in common besides food - she's a computational linguistics PhD student, declares she's "someone who collects skills the way other people collect stamps", and she has written two fantasy novels - there's no doubt that we both share a love of food.

for more information on the secret recipe club, including the list of participating bloggers, featured recipes from members, and instructions on how to join, visit the secret recipe club website!

check out my previous secret recipe club posts: breakfast pizza two ways, old fashioned sour cream donuts, italian sloppy joes, hard cider baked chicken & mushrooms, mini cinnamon roll cakes, double chocolate zucchini muffins with chocolate butter, butterscotch M&M oatmeal cookies, 30 minute baked tortellini, snickerdoodle bars & slow cooker chicken fajitas, meyer lemon iced raspberry yogurt cake & slow cooker chicken cacciatore, almond strawberry jam thumbprints, almond butter cookies, enfrijoladas, chocolate snack cake, bacon topped maple french toast cupcakes, cherry sorbet, slow cooker beans & mushrooms, mojito chicken tacos, maple glazed whole wheat spiced apple pizza, pig out cookies, pasta with blistered tomatoes & arugula and iced grapefruit cookies, mushroom barley soup, scalloped ham and potato bake & andes mint cake, chicken souvlaki with tzatziki, asian pork chops, lemon lime meltaways, blueberry peach crisp, minted lemon ice, white chocolate macadamia nut blondies, raspberry cream filled eclairs, jam swirled cheesecake, whole wheat grapefruit cake, chewy no bake granola bars & carrot cinnamon waffles, cannoli, gingerbread muffins, double chocolate peanut butter chip oatmeal cookies, butterscotch peach cake, whole wheat honey pancakes, minted pineapple lime agua fresca, breakfast tacos, simple almond sandwich cookies, & roasted banana rum cake.

mexican mac & cheese
adapted from rachel cotterill
1hr, serves 4

while delicious, this mac & cheese is definitely missing the heat you typically expect from mexican dishes. my suggestion: add 1 diced jalapeno with the pepper and onion in step 2, add 4 ounces canned diced green chilis in step 5, or add chili powder to taste in step 5. try one or all three for killer heat!

8 ounces small shaped pasta, like macaroni, rotini, or small shells
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
5 green onions, white and light green parts sliced
1 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen corn
  1. cook the pasta in salted water just until al dente, or the shortest time listed on the package. drain and set aside.
  2. while the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. coat the bottom of an ovenproof dutch oven or large saucepan with olive oil and place over medium heat. add the garlic and cook until the garlic starts to soften. do not let the garlic brown. remove the garlic from the pan and add the bell pepper, onion, and green onions. cook until soft, about 5 minutes. mince the cooked garlic and add it back to the pan with the pepper & onions.
  3. if you wish to bake the finished mac & cheese, preheat your oven to 400F.
  4. add the butter to the vegetables. once melted, whisk in the flour. cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 minute, or until the flour starts to brown. slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
  5. whisk in the cumin, paprika, and cheddar cheese. mix in the corn and drained pasta until combined. 
  6. serve as is or bake uncovered 15-20 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

bakewell tart
adapted from rachel cotterill
1hr, makes 9" tart

for the bottom:
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
5 1/2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 egg
about 2 tablespoons water

for the filling:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
7 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups ground almonds
about 6 tablespoons good quality raspberry jam
about 1/4 cup sliced almonds

  1. to make the bottom, whisk the flour and sugar together. using your hands or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. separate the egg yolk & white, reserve the white for the filling, and add the yolk to the butter mixture. use a fork to mix in the yolk. add 1 tablespoon water and mix until combined. if the mixture is still dry, add another tablespoon of water. you may need to bring the mixture together with your hands. kneed lightly, shape into a disc, and chill for 30 minutes. 
  2. preheat your oven to 400F and grease the bottom and sides of an 9" round cake pan. roll out the chilled dough to fit the bottom of the pan. line the pan with the dough and use your fingers around the edges to push it down from the sides. prick the dough and blind bake with beads, rice, etc, for 15 minutes. remove the beads, rice,etc, and brush the top with milk. bake an additional 5 minutes. reduce your oven temp at 350F.
  3. while the bottom is baking, make the filling. mix the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. add the eggs and almond extract and mix until combined. fold in the ground almonds.
  4. spoon the jam evenly over the baked pastry bottom, leaving a small space between the jam and sides of the pan. pour the filling over the top and spread evenly. bake for 15 minutes. sprinkle the top of the tart with the sliced almonds and bake an additional 15 minutes. cool almost completely before serving.

An InLinkz Link-up


  1. It looks like you did them both justice, that bakewell tart has come out beautifully! Can I come round for dinner? ;-)

  2. These dishes look beautiful, especially that tart! Yum!

  3. That tart looks especially good.

  4. I've never heard of a Bakewell tart, but it sounds delicious. I had your blog this month, and made 3 of your scones recipes, which were all delicious as well!

  5. I was intrigued by the bakewell tart - sounds like just the sort of dessert we'd love at this house. And you can never go wrong with mac 'n cheese. Both you and Rachel are fabulous bakers - what a pair!

  6. Lovely choices - I could devour that mac and cheese dish all by myself!

  7. That mac n cheese looks divine!

  8. i've never heard of a bakewell tart, but it looks wonderful!

  9. This all looks fantastic. I wish I could have a bite of both!


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