For our November 2018 “Feast Around the World” feature, we asked five of the state’s top chefs to create festive meals to serve this season. What we got was a cornucopia of global flavors. 

Steve McHugh, who opened Cured in San Antonio five years ago, created a feast built on memories from his days in Wisconsin and New Orleans but uses native ingredients for a true Texas twist. Below, find McHugh’s twist on a classic Mexican treat to complete the “Hunting and Gathering” feast.

Mesquite-Flour Tres Leches Cake With Cherry Compote

Serves 12


2½ cups cherries, pitted (thawed if using frozen; can substitute fresh fruit of your choice)
¼ cup sugar
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan with ¼ cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, adding water if it gets too thick. It should have a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat, cool, and reserve.


1 cup cake flour
½ cup mesquite flour, plus some for dusting top of cake (available online)
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
12 egg whites, room temperature
1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cake flour, mesquite flour, sugar, and salt together, and set aside. Using a mixer, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites. Line an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper, pour the batter in, and bake until done, about 30 minutes. Texture will be spongy. Invert on a rack to cool, in the pan.

Horchata Cream

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1½ cups heavy cream
2½ cups whole milk
3 tablespoons horchata (available at large supermarkets and Mexican restaurants)
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 cups whipped cream

In a large saucepan, combine first 5 ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Set aside.

Using a fork, poke holes all over the cooled cake, in its pan, and evenly pour the warm Horchata Cream over it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. To serve, cut into squares, top each with whipped cream and Compote, and dust attractively with mesquite flour.