Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cream Cheese Arepas and the Machine

When I first discovered arepas on a trip to New York City last year, it was love at first bite. I couldn't wait to get back to San Francisco, find some P.A.N. arepas flour, and make a batch or two, which I did in this post.

Since it was my first attempt, I used the classic water, salt, white cornmeal mix to delicious effect. As I read more about arepas, I saw there were hundreds of variations, using all sorts of combinations of milk, cheese, cream, buttermilk, yogurt, etc. I decided I wanted to try a breakfast version made with cream cheese and milk, topped with butter and honey. Unfortunately, I never did.

So, when my friends at Imusa asked me to test their arepas maker, I knew exactly which recipe I'd try. As you'll see, this machine was very easy to use, and produced some fine arepas (even though my dough was a tad dry and cracked a little – and to paraphrase the great Whitney Houston, when it comes to arepas perfection, cracks are wack).
If you don't use a specially made grill for these, worry not; they would come out fine using a pan as I did in the original video. If you want more info about this particular model arepas maker, please check out this Imusa product link. Also, if you can't find the P.A.N. arepas flour in a store near you, follow this link to purchase online.

On a side note; I have to admit, as I was using the machine, I kept daydreaming about doing burgers and eggs with it as well. So, don't be surprised if you see this machine appear in future videos with alternative recipes. Enjoy!

UPDATE! As viewer AFB just brilliantly pointed out, you can certainly just place your dough balls in the maker and let it press them down into patties for you. This is, of course, the main advantages of using this machine! I like the smoother edges hand-shaping provides, and I did make sure they were thicker than the press is deep, so that both sides are in contact. I may do an updated test to see how this faster and more traditional use of the press works.

Cream Cheese Arepas Ingredients (makes 4):
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup softened cream cheese
1 tsp sugar
1 cup P.A.N. arepas flour

Note: This video was made possible by Imusa, and the arepas maker was provided free of charge to test.

View the complete recipe


AFB said...

Hello Chef John!
The arepas look delicious. As far as the maker machine goes, I'm pretty sure that part of the functionality of the machine is that it will shape the arepas for you; meaning that all you gotta do is put a big ball of dough on each "well" and once you close and push down on the lid, the wells will form perfectly rounded arepas, with the excess dough spilling off to the side (which forms delicious crunchy munchies for the chef). Not only this is faster, it also ensures that the entire surface is in contact with the hot element, and you won't have to turn them over half way.

Finally, the latch on the lid is for this purpose also, since if you're essentially extruding dough, the lid tends to not stay fully shut right after you form the arepas.

Edward Sotelli said...

Very good recipe! it's an innovative and delicius way to make arepas, i will try it tomorrow for breakfast, I am half venezuelan half american, i live in Miami and Arepas and Latin American food are very common here, you should go to Venezuela and you will see all the delicious dishes you will taste, from traditional desserts to fine dining, it's a very varied and delicious cusine wich mixes ingredients from all over the world


xoladiihoneyxo said...

omg... it look so soft like one of those pastry I always see people eat when they act in the Ancient Chinese movies.

Chef John said...

AFB, great point!! I should have been clearer in the video. I just added an UPDATE to the bottom of the post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,
The ingredient list is missing the sugar that is mentioned in the video.

Love your web site!

KrisD said...

I think I just drooled a little. I'll have to make these sans machine.

Do let us know if this is a good multitasker!

blue said...

the machine can easily be converted to an english muffin maker. just name it "english muffin maker" :))

Andrea Meyers said...

Funny to see an arepa maker. I spent a couple years on Colombia and always make ours in a cast iron pan. Like the cream cheese addition, they turned great.

Anonymous said...

Chef I was wondering if you need this particular flour or can we use self raising/plain?

In the UK I don't think we can get this ingredient. I don't think we get Corn flour either very easily either.

Chef John said...

Yes, you must have this arepas pre-cooked white corn meal flour. Completely different than wheat flour! You can get online I believe. Also, are there really no Latin-American stores in the UK?? If there is are Venezuelans in the UK, then you can find this product. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef John,
I live in North East Ohio, can't find the PAN anywhere..Amazon did have it but not available anymore. Looked at Cuban online stores but very expensive (the shipping that is) do you have any other options, any American webstores that might sell this online?

Thanks in advance!

Chef John said...

Not sure! These are good, but i wouldn't spend a ton of money on the PAN. I'd wait until I visited somewhere that had it, or wait for Amazon to carry again. :-)

quindan said...

Chef John "Pan" is actually the Portuguese word for bread.

Xenmut said...

Hey Chef John, long time viewer first time writer. Im from Venezuela and Arepas are mostly part of our trademark, but what make the arepas special, are the different fillings you can have for them : you can have em' of Smoked Ham and Yellow Cheese (Gouda most of times) and its called "Rumbera", also you got white cheese and black beans its called "Domino", shredded red meat(more like stuffed roast perhaps) and yellow cheese make a "Pelua"(means something like: Furry). Of Course you may have heard of them but one you gotta try is the "Reina Pepiada" filling, wich is a mix between mayo, chicken, avocado and some spices. I invite you to taste em all and look for more, tho' id be happy to help in that research! As well that talking about "Harina PAN" wich is exported to the rest of the World i believe since Chavez problem began. it is a version of pre-cooked white corn meal invented here for an easyer way to make Arepas and also Empanadas!--> wich i think are as good or better than wheat ones!

Steve Johnson said...

After my Arepas are done and if I don`t manage to eat them all, how shall i store them?Shall I wrap them in a plastic bag and store it in room temperature?In the fridge or the freezer? And for how many days can I store Arepas in a plastic bag in room temperature, fridge or freezer? And which alternative keeps them better stored?

ThisDameCooks said...

Chef John, Goya makes arepa cornmeal in white or yellow. Most Latin markets carry Goya brands as does
In Puerto Rico we make a similar pocket with cassava flour (Goya Brand) and an egg added. Then for more flavor we add queso blanco and fresh basil to the batter.

ThisDameCooks said...

Look for INSTANT cornmeal, fine grained, in major supermarkets. Instant cornmeal is precooked and works great for this recipe.

ThisDameCooks said...

A better alternative is INSTANT POLENTA. Easier to find and works great for this recipe.

Bianca said...

I had this with yogurt for dinner just an hour ago!. thank you!! excellent

1Bigg_ER said...

Goya imports the P.A.N. cornmeal. Even Asian stores are stocking this cornmeal.
As for the press, use a ziplock bag, cut the two opposite sides, oil a little bit, place your balls betwix the flaps and gently press with a small plate. You'll get perfect discs.

Anonymous said...

Hello!! I'm glad you like the arepas... Because I'm from Venezuela and I at least eat one of those everyday (They're much more light than bread)

The arepa mashine it's called "Tostiarepa" and the best I've ever try is the 4 arepas from OSTER. (Hey it's not a commercial) jaja

That's true you can season your arepas as you like... But the sweet ones are fried in oil not that way... Anyway my favorite way to eat them it's with cream cheddar cheese in one side, and plenty of butter in the other side (If you make the mix with chicken sup it's awesome also) Big kiss from Venezuela, love your blog, 'cause i live alone and i do a lot of your recipes!

Unknown said...

I made them with mascarpone instead of cream cheese. Flavor was great but they came out dry and broke apart. Where did I go wrong?