Pastel Azteca de Mole

If someone has made Mole Poblano, it means there’s something to celebrate.

This rich sauce has a diverse list of ingredients that is both complex and rich in flavor. 

Thanks to the blending of European and indigenous cultures, mole Poblano is truly a standout dish in the world of Mexican gastronomy.

For this particular recipe, pastel Azteca de mole (Aztec cake with mole), we will be making a fresh batch of mole sauce from scratch and pairing it with layers of fried corn tortillas, shredded chicken, toasted sesame seeds, and cheese.

This dish is the perfect meal to make for all big life events––birthdays, Mother’s Day, and more. 

Although it requires a few hours of work, I promise you it's worth every bit of effort. As soon as you taste the first bite, you’ll understand why.

So órale, let’s get ready and embark on an epic culinary journey to Puebla!

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Pastel Azteca de Mole

Prep Time: 1 hour 

Cook Time: 1 hour  

Total Time: 2 hours 

Yields: 10 servings (about half a gallon of mole paste)

some tips before starting:

  1. Mole is a dish which takes time to be prepared. Make sure you have all the ingredients handy, play your favorite playlist and enjoy the process!

  2. Straining the mole paste is optional, but I like how silky the strained paste looks and tastes after passing through a sieve.

  3. The sweetness of the mole depends on how much piloncillo and chocolate you add to it, adjust to your preference by slowly adding the ingredients and tasting.

  4. This recipe yields around half a gallon of mole, and depends on how much chicken or vegetable stock you use to dilute the paste, it will yield more or fewer servings.

  5. You can make this recipe vegetarian by using vegetable stock and filling with your preferred vegetable. (sauteed mushrooms and potatoes work very well as stuffing)

  6. I have used vegetable oil to prepare my recipe, traditionally mole is made with lard.

  7. Keep a baking tray handy or a large tray to keep all the ingredients in one place once you have fried them, this way you will end up washing fewer dishes!

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  • 5 Mulato chile peppers (deveined‌ ‌and‌ ‌deseeded‌)

  • 2 Ancho chile peppers (deveined‌ ‌and‌ ‌deseeded‌)

  • 4 Pasilla chile peppers (deveined‌ ‌and‌ ‌deseeded‌)

  • 2 Morita chile peppers (deveined‌ ‌and‌ ‌deseeded‌)

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tomato

  • 1 white onion chopped in four pieces

  • 1/2 ripe plantain peeled and chopped

  • ⅓ cup raisins

  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds (green)

  • ½ cup blanched almonds

  • ½ cup raw peanuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 2 cloves

  • 3 peppercorns

  • 2 pinches of cinnamon

  • ⅓ cup white sesame seeds

  • 2 corn tortillas

  • ½ piece of French roll or crusty bread like telera

  • 4 ounces of Mexican table chocolate (1 tablet)

  • 1 tablespoon of piloncillo or jaggery (adjust according to how sweet you like mole)

  • 4 to 5 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock (if making it vegetarian)

  • ⅓ cup of oil (or lard if you prefer)

Ingredients for the pastel Azteca

  • Corn tortillas (you need 3 tortillas per serving)

  • Oil for shallow frying

  • Shredded chicken (or the vegetable of your choice if making it vegetarian)

  • Avocado slices and shredded cheese for topping

  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds

Preparing the mole sauce

  1. The first step of this recipe is to fry all the ingredients. Add two tablespoons of oil (or lard) in a large saucepan and lightly fry the chiles for two to three minutes. Avoid burning them otherwise your sauce will become bitter.

  2. Add the fried chiles to a bowl and pour 1 cup of boiling water, soak them until you fry the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Heat a medium-sized pan, and roast the anise seeds, coriander seeds, cloves. Roast for two minutes and remove from the pan.

  4. On the same pan where you roasted the spices, roast the sesame seeds and cover with a lid for about two minutes, remove from the pan keeping aside one tablespoon which you will use as topping for the pastel azteca.

  5. Add one tablespoon of oil (or lard) in the same saucepan you fried the chiles, heat and lightly fry the pumpkin seeds, almonds, cinnamon and peanuts. Fry for five minutes and remove.

  6. Add one more tablespoon of oil and fry the tortillas and crusty bread until well fried, set aside.

  7. Fry the plantain with the remaining oil and set aside.

  8. Fry the garlic cloves, tomato and onion until charred and remove from the pan.

  9. In a blender or food processor, start blending all the ingredients. (You might need to blend in batches). Use one cup of the chicken stock or as much as you need to blend the paste into a smooth sauce. It takes a few batches to blend all the ingredients.

  10. Once you have finished blending everything, pass the sauce through a sieve to get a silky sauce. (This step is optional and won’t change the taste).

  11. In a large pot, add one tablespoon of oil and warm it. Once the oil is hot, add the sauce and fry it, stirring it constantly. After 10 minutes, add the piloncillo and the chocolate in batches, making sure you taste the sauce to avoid making it too sweet. Cook on a low flame for 20 to 30 minutes until oil bubbles appear.

  12. Check the consistency of the mole, if it's too thick, add the amount of chicken stock required to dilute the sauce.

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Preparing the Pastel Azteca

  1. Add oil to a frying pan. Once the oil is hot, fry one tortilla at a time, draining it on kitchen towels.

  2. To assemble the pastel azteca, add one tablespoon of mole sauce on a plate, add one fried tortilla, shredded chicken on top and layer with another tortilla on top. Repeat the process until you have stacked three tortillas and cover in mole sauce, topping with cheese and sesame seeds.

  3. Serve immediately and repeat the process for each serving.

  4. Alternatively, you could layer the tortillas and ingredients on a dish safe oven, topping them with melting cheese and baking for ten minutes over 365°F.

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About the Author


Gaby is a passionate home cook from Mexico. Life took her to Mumbai, India where she fell in love with the country, the food and her husband Jasdeep. She is the brains behind @thepunjaxican, an Instagram account where she shares her favorite Indian and Mexican dishes with her own Punjaxican (Punjabi + Mexican) recipes as a homage to both ethnicities. Punjaxican is the type of fusion recipes she makes at home when they are “ni muy muy ni tan tan” Indian or Mexican.

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