Atole - atole de zarzamora

Yield: 6 servings Jim



or 3 tb Brown sugar or to taste Though there are many variations basically "atole" is a gruel thickened with masa sweetened with raw sugar and flavored with crushed fruits - such as pineapple and strawberries - or seasoned with chili. Some are made with a base of ground rice; others with fresh corn. For the Mexicans atole too is a natural accompaniment for tamales. For non-Mexicans however it is really not the sort of beverage that would generally be accepted no matter how authentic. Blackberry atole Put the blackberries and water into a saucepan and cook over a medium flame pressing them down from time to time for about 10 minutes. Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor and press through a fine sieve or the fine disk of a food mill to extract the seeds and return to the pan. Add the water to the masa and press out any lumps with the back of a wooded spoon. When it is quite smooth stir it into the strained blackberries. Cook over low heat stirring often until the atole begins to thicken. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. It should take about 25 minutes to reach the required consistency so that the mixture will very lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. Champurrado (Chocolate-flavored atole) Put the masa into the pan with the 2/3 cup water and cook over a low flame stirring constantly until it thickens - about 5 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk and water and cook until it begins to bubble. Add the chocolate broken into pieces the cinnamon stick and the sugar and cook slowly stirring until the mixture thickens - about 15 minutes. The atole is done when a spoonful slides noiselessly rather than plops back into the mixture. The Cuisines of Mexico From the collection of Jim Vorheis

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