Atole de fresa

Long, cold winter nights mean one thing in my house: we’re making hot drinks to warm us up! One of my favorite cold-weather drinks is atole, especially because it’s customary to drink with breakfast or after dinner. The two most common flavors are vanilla and strawberry—atole de vainilla y atole de fresa. If you make it with chocolate, it’s called champurrado.

It’s a masa-based drink where the dissolved masa acts as a thickening agent to make this hot drink the kind of hearty treat that will really stick to your ribs. I’ve talked before about the availability of atole that comes in powdered packets, but next to my champurrado recipe (which uses prepared store-bought masa from my local tortillería), this version using Maseca instant corn masa flour is even easier to make and a sure step above the flavor from a packet. It’s a homemade taste without all the work of grinding your own nixtamal or having to dissolve masa using cheesecloth. It’s what you might call a semi-homemade version, if you will.

This drink dates back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and is well documented as a form of sustenance amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Historical texts tell us it was often flavored with fruits, spices or chiles.

Sometimes atole is also made with different colors of corn (I’ve personally tasted atole made with white, yellow and blue corn bases) and milk or water as the liquid. I don’t like my atole to be too thin so I have a habit of making it very thick at the beginning and then thinning it out with milk or water as needed. If you prefer yours to be thinner, you can use all water instead of milk, and reduce the portion of Maseca instant corn flour to your liking.

If you want more berry flavor, you can add another whole cup of strawberries and use more water than milk so it doesn’t thicken too much or dilute the berry flavor.

This recipe produces the best strawberry flavor when you use berries that are very ripe. A trick to my recipe is that I macerate the strawberries before I put them in the blender (which just means I slice them up and, place them in a bowl and sprinkle sugar over them to allow the natural juices to come out).

If you won’t consume the atole immediately after cooking, store in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed to the top of the liquid so a skin doesn’t form over the top. If a skin does form, you can gently remove it with a spoon, but then you’re not getting to enjoy your whole batch. A final note: make sure the Maseca you’re using is specifically for tortillas and not tamales or you’ll get a different consistency.

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Celebrating Día de Los Reyes with friends and family

¡Feliz Día de Los Reyes a todos!

We took a long vacation with family for the holidays and part of our trip included a day in Ensenada, located on the West coast of Mexico in the state of Baja California (the northern part of the peninsula, a little more than 70 miles south of Tijuana).

Since we wouldn’t be together on Día de Los Reyes, we found a little rosca to celebrate a few days before. And guess who got el niño Jesus… again. I swear it’s a conspiracy because I get the baby in my piece of cake every single year. The rosca was so small that I didn’t even think there would be a baby inside, but there he was when I broke my piece off. Guess I’ll just have to make tamales for Día de La Candelaria on February 2!

Read more about how we celebrate Día de Los Reyes here on The Other Side of The Tortilla and check out the links below to see how some of our friends celebrate as well. If you haven’t celebrated yet, it’s not too late. Even if you can’t buy a rosca, you can certainly try making one on your own! You can also serve Mexican hot chocolate or champurrado alongside your cake…. 

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Crema batida con cajeta

I love, love, love homemade whipped cream. So, when I figured out a way to improve upon a classic by giving it a little Mexican touch, I knew it’d be a hit at my table. I’ll be serving this version of homemade whipped cream on my pumpkin pie later this week for Thanksgiving. Check out the video to see how easy it is!

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Cajeta whipped cream

Goat's milk caramel (cajeta) gives classic homemade whipped cream a Mexican touch, perfect for topping desserts for the holidays.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 pint) of whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cajeta

Instructions

  1. Chill the whipping cream in the freezer for up to an hour, making sure to shake the container every 10-15 minutes so that the cream doesn’t freeze. Some ice crystals will form along the sides. After an hour, pour the whipping cream into your food processor and secure the top.
  2. Run the processor for about a minute, then add the 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Keep running the processor for another minute or two. You may want to stop the motor briefly and open the lid to make sure that the cream is beginning to thicken. If necessary, use a spatula to push any whipped cream down the wall of the bowl.
  3. Turn the processor back on and let it run for about 30 seconds. Begin to slowly add the cajeta. I prefer about 2 tablespoons so it’s not as sweet, but you can add up to 3 tablespoons if you like. Run the processor until the cajeta is fully incorporated. Unplug your food processor and use a rubber spatula to spoon the whipped cream out of the bowl.

Notes

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2011/11/crema-batida-con-cajeta/

You can head over to the Kenmore Genius Blog for the full story and my recipe for cajeta whipped cream, the perfect pie-topper for your holiday.

  • What kind of special touches do you add to the holiday dinner table?

Wordless Wednesday: Churros for dinner

During my trip to Mexico City a few weeks ago, there was one night that it got very chilly (and by very chilly in Mexico City in September, I mean about 57 degrees F). It doesn’t sound that cold—at least not to a Chicagoan used to blizzard weather—but without a jacket and the need for something warm in my belly, I wrapped myself in a fleece blanket while I chatted with my suegra and my cuñada about what we should have for dinner. After little discussion, we all agreed the best option was a trip to El Convento in San Ángel for churros and chocolate caliente. Pictured above is what ended up rolled in sugar and in my tummy. (Well, not ALL of it, but you get the idea.)

If you’re more than a few miles from the closest churrería, check out my recipe for making your own churros at home.

  • Where’s your favorite place to eat churros?

Cheater’s alfajores

How to make semi-homemade alfajores | Get more #recipes from theothersideofthetortilla.com #cookies

 

Alfajores are basically code for delicious cookie sandwich with dulce de leche in the middle. They’re a popular confection in Spain and parts of Latin America. They’re delicate cookies made with corn starch that give a buttery, satin texture with the perfect amount of crumble. I love alfajores (and usually try to pick up a box of the fancy, individually-wrapped kind from Palacio de Hierro while in Mexico) but sometimes I just need a quick fix without the hassle of making cookies from scratch when I can’t buy the fancy kind.

On the Kenmore Genius Blog, I confessed  my dirty little secret on how to make alfajores with all of the flavor and hardly any of the work. If you’re a disaster in the kitchen, are pressed for time with a busy schedule or just having a lazy moment, this recipe is for you! It’s so easy, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it yourself…. 

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