Rosca de Reyes (Kings’ Ring Cake) 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

First of all I wish you all a wonderful year and I hope you continue following me in my Mexican Food Memories adventures, this year will be full of great recipes, travels and more! Here is the first recipe of the year.

It is January, I am sure you are all thinking about starting to get fit and eat healthier after all that Christmas and New Year’s dinner and drinks, well, good! that is the most sensible thing to do when you start a new year, but if you were Mexican, you were all be thinking about eating the Rosca de Reyes on January 6th. Rosca de Reyes or Roscón de Reyes is a Spanish and Latin America King’s cake pastry traditionally eaten to celebrate the arrival of the three wise men during Epyphany, traditionally the cake is made in a round or oval shape and decorated with dried or candied fruit and quince and a little plastic doll, representing baby Jesus, the little doll is placed inside the cake and in Mexico whoever finds the little doll has the “Tamales duty”, it means that that person will have to make tamales on February 2nd (Día de la Candelaría) and invite everyone who were that day eating Rosca.

On the same day, in most of Spain and some countries in Latin America, children get presents, which are attributed to the Three Wise Men. In Mexico children usually leave their shoes by the door with a note for the Three Wise Men. In my family we used to get some money in our shoe, I used to love Kings’ Day very much, it was like another day to have fun, get together with family and friends and eat the nice and delicious cake with a nice hot Mexican chocolate.

Today I am sharing this recipe with you, it is not my recipe and I didn’t make this rosca, I bought it in Barcelona in a very nice bakery and the guy there kindly share with me this recipe. I really hope you give this recipe a try, because you do not have to be religious to eat this lovely cake and it is a nice tradition, which is what I love.

Serves 6

Time 1 hour 30 min approx

Ingredients 

  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 200 gr butter to room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 orange blossom water
  • 15 g easy bake yeast

To decorate

  • 4 red glace cherries
  • 3 glace orange slices
  • 3 slices green cheese quince
  • 2 tsp white rock sugar
  • 150 white marzipan
  • 1 little doll

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4. Then have all your ingredients ready to use on the surface you are going to work on.
  2. Place the 500 g flour on the surface that you are going to work, make a little hole in the middle so you can place the other ingredients.
  3. Add half of the sugar, butter, salt, 3 eggs and the orange blossom water and start mixing the ingredients, once they are mix, add the egg yolk, the rest of the sugar and the 15 g of easy bake yeast and start working the dough.
  4. Work the dough until all the ingredients come together and the dough feels flexible, usually this takes around 15 to 20 min.
  5. Oil a bowl and place the dough in there, cover it with a tea towel and let it rest in a warm place until it double its size.
  6. Take the dough out of the bowl and make a long piece like a long worm, then place the marzipan in the middle of the dough and give it a round ring shape.
  7. Whisk an egg and using a baking brush, egg brush the dough.
  8. Decorate the cake with all the dry fruits and green quince placing them on top. Hide the little doll inside the dough. Let it rest again so it rises a bit more, around 10 to 15 min.
  9. Place it in the oven for around 20 min or until is brown and cooked.
  10. Sprinkle some white rock sugar to give it a nice finish. Have a slice with a nice  hot cup of Mexican chocolate.

Listo!

Provecho!

Palanquetas de Cacahuate y Pepitorias (Peanut and Pumpkin Seed Pralines)

  

I absolulety love tradional Mexican sweets, they are so delicious, full of nice and healthy things like these mouthwatering palanquetas (pralines). There are many different types of  “palanquetas” in Mexico, but all are made with either seeds, nuts or dried fruit. I’m making mine with just peanuts and pumpkin seeds to give as Christmas presents to my friends.

Makes around 10 little squares of each 

Cook 10 min

Ingredients

  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 50 gr peeled and toasted peanuts
  • 50 gr pumpkin seeds

Utensils

  • 2 medium saucepans
  • 2 plastic cooking spoons
  • 1 small tray 

Method

  1. First toast the peanuts. Heat a frying pan, once hot place the peanuts on the pan and stir from time to time to avoid burning. Toast them for around 7 min and keep aside on a bowl.
  2. Place one of the saucepans on medium heat and put one cup of caster sugar and let the sugar dissolved. 
  3. Once the sugar is dissolved and has become caramel, add the 50 gr peanuts. Mix very well until all the peanuts are coated with the caramel.
  4. Transfer them onto the tray and flat them. 
  5. Once cool, cut them into squares.
  6. Repeat the same procedure but with a clean saucepan to make the pumpkin seeds praline.

Tips

  • I tent not to stir the sugar when it is melting. I just let the heat to do its job, but keep an eye on the caramel as it can burn very easily and if it burns then it tastes very bitter, so I recommend you to keep the heat medium low.
  • They are delicious and you can wrap them as little Christmas present for friends and family.

Listo!

Provecho!

    
    
   

Champurrado (Mexican Thick Chocolate)

Champurrado is a hot Mexican drink made with chocolate and “atole”. In Mexico we use maize in different ways, the most popular way is masa (lime-treated maize), whit masa we make tortillas, tamales, gorditas and many other dishes, we also use it to thicken sauces or soups, and we also use masa to make drinks, like chapurrado.

Champurrado is the mixture of Mexican chocolate and a drink call “Atole” which is a drink made with masa, milk, water and piloncillo. There are different types of atoles: guava, strawberry, vanilla. It is very common to drink champurrado while eating tamales, specially during special ocassions like the Day of the Dead or Christmas.

In my family my sister Cynthia makes a very delicious “Guava Atole”, she prepares this drink for Christmas, it is a very comforting drink, perfect for a winter day.

I decided to make champurrado at home, it has been raining in London and I feel a bit tired, so I thought to make myself feel better and get into the Christmas spirit, so my son and I will drink some hot champurrado while we make some Christmas art and crafts.

Serves 4

Prep 5 min

Cook 15 to 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Maseca or Masa harina (corn flour)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tablet Mexican chocolate
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Method

  1. Mix the maseca with the 2 cups of hot water until all the lumps have dissolved. If needed, use a strainer to get a fine mixture.
  2. In a medium saucepan, simmer the milk along with the chocolate, cinnamon and sugar until it dissolves. This will take about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the maseca mixture to the milk and stir continuously until getting a smooth runny consistency.
  4. Serve in cups and enjoy.

Tips 

  • If you want to make champurrado for more people, just double the ingredients for every 4 people.
  • This drink has a thick and smooth consistency, if you want it runnier, just add more milk or add less maseca.

Listo!

Provecho!

Galletas Navideñas de Chocolate Mexicano (Christmas Mexican Chocolate Cookies)

Christmas!! I love Christmas, my favourite time of the year. When I was a child, we used to spend Christmas in Culiacan, Sinaloa, at my grandma’s house, I used to love it, I had so many nice memories playing with my cousins, eating nice cosy Mexican food, playing “Loteria”, going to the Christmas fair, turning on “Luces de bengala” (sparklers), oh! I wish I was a child again, seriously!

In Mexico we celebrate Christmas on Chritmas Eve on 24th, so at my grandma’s all my aunties and my grandma used to spend all day in the kitchen, so at night we could have a Christmas Feast, they used to do Tamales de Res, my mum’s family signature dish for Christmas, you can find the recipe in my blog, just click over here and we would eat these sitting on the table in rounds as my mum’s family is very big.

Today, I am sharing with you the recipe for these beautiful Mexican cookies, they are made with “Mexican Chocolate” (Mexican Chocolate), which is a bit different from the common chocolate bars you find in the supermarket. Mexican chocolate is made with cinnamon, sugar and cocoa, these ingredients, give the chocolate a very nice flavour. There are two famous brands of Mexican chocolate, Chocolate Abuelita, which is the one I used for this recipe or Ibarra, which is the one that you probably will find here in London. You can find Mexican chocolate in one of the Mexican online shops.

All this month I will be sharing with you different Mexican Christmas recipes or Christmas recipes with a Mexican touch, so stay tuned and do not forger to subscribe to the mail list.

Makes around 20 medium cookies or 30 small

Ingredients

  • 1 Mexican Chocolate Bar (it can be Abuelita or Ibarra) crushed into tiny pieces
  • 1 3/4 of a cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg or 2 small
  • a splash vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 C or gas mark 5
  2. Combine the flour with the baking powder.
  3. Beat the butter with the sugars until getting a soft consistency, then add the egg and the splash of vanilla.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder to the sugar and butter mix and then add the Mexican chocolate. Mix all the ingredients until they are well combined.
  5. Take little batches of the mixture with a tablespoon and place them on a baking tray, remember to use greaseproof paper before putting the cookie mix on it.
  6. Place the cookies in the hot oven and bake for around 10 min or until they are a bit golden on top. Sprinkle them with some icing sugar to give them a more Christmas look.

Tips

  • You can buy the Mexican chocolate in www.mexgrocer.co.uk
  • If you can’t find Mexican chocolate, you can always used a 70 % dark chocolate, just use a bit more sugar and add cinnamon.

Listo!

Provecho!

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Alegrías de Amaranto (Amaranth Bar Alegrías)

 

Every year around mid February, Ensenada hosst a traditional port carnival, this is what port cities do. My parents always used to take us to see the parade in the afternoon and that was my favourite part as they used to get us lots of nice sweet treats, one of them were “Alegrias”, these cosy amaranth bars taste just heavenly. This recipe originated in the state of Morelos, Mexico, there they do these amazing shapes and combinations, but nowadays alegrias are very popular all around Mexico.

Alegrias are also extremely nutritious, amaranth are the tiny little seed use to make these mexican sweets, amaranth is similar to quinoa and in fact it is as nutritions as quinoa, as it contains high levels of protein. In Mexico amaranth has been consumed since pre-Colombian times, the Mayans and the Aztecs used to eat a lot of this grains as part of their diet and it was consider a very important ingredient.

The recipe is an easy to make, you just have to be careful while you are popping the amaranth, because it burns very easily.

Makes a 30 d x 20 h tray

Prep 15 min

Cook 15 min

Ingredients 

  • 100 gr amaranth seed
  • 3 light brown small piloncillo bars
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 oiled 30 x 20 tray

Method

  1. First pop up the amaranth seeds. Heat a pan with a glass lid, try first with a few seeds to see if the pan has the right temperature. Remember the seeds burn quite easily, that is why I suggest to use a glass lid, so you can see when the seeds stop popping. Do it in small batches, I did one tablespoon at a time. Put the popped amaranth in a separate bowl and reserve.
  2. Break all the piloncillo bars and place them in the same pan where you popped the amaranth, add the honey and water and heat until everything has dissolved.
  3. Let the syrup to cool down for 5 min.
  4. Add the popped amaranth into the syrup and stir vigorously until all the seeds are cover with the syrup.
  5. Place the amaranth on a pre-oil tray, I just rubbed a tiny bit of rapeseed oil to avoid the amaranth bars to stick to the tray.
  6. Press the amaranth with a rolling pin and let it cool for a few hours.
  7. Cut them with a sharp knife in different shapes.

Tips

  • You can add pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins or any other nuts you like.

Listo!

Provecho!

  

  


  

Dulce de Calabaza (Pumpkin in Syrup)

  
One of the dishes that I will always have in my heart is”dulce de calabaza” or “Calabaza en tacha” as some people call it. For me, this recipe totally takes me back to my childhood, I remember going to visit my grandma in Sinaloa and she and my aunties would cook this dish, sometimes specially for me, as I was and still am number one fan of “Calabaza en dulce”. They are the experts to make this recipe, specially my auntie Laura and Ana. 

In Mexico this recipe is cook during the autumn and specially during “The Day of the Dead” as an offering to our loved ones that had past away. Whatever the ocassion the truth is this recipe is cozy, delicious and once you try it, you will definitely love it and would, like me, eat the whole pot! 

I made a medium pumpkin because it is only for my family and me, but you can make as much as you want, it is an easy recipe and I promise you will love it.

For a medium pumpkin

Prep 15 min 

Cook 1 hr approx 

Ingredients

  • Cheese or Queensland pumpkin washed and cut in chunks
  • 100 gr Dark Brown Mascovado Sugar or dark piloncillo.
  • 2 medium cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 100 ml water

Method

In a large casserole dish add some of the sugar on the bottom and place the pumpkin skin up, add the cloves and cinnamon sticks.

  

 And put another layer of pumpkins and add more sugar, do this until all the pieces are in the casserole dish. Add the water and cook in low heat. Make sure when it is cooking all the pumpkin pieces are covered with the syrup. Cook until the pumpkin is cook and tender. 

Enjoy it just by itself or with some milk.

Tips

  • This recipe traditionally is made with dark “Piloncillo” or “Panela” as some people call it.
  • For this recipe I used dark brown Mascovado sugar as I couldn’t find dark piloncillo. The results are very similar.

Listo!

Provecho!

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)


El Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a famous Mexican celebration full of traditions that have been in our culture since pre-columbian times. In the Aztec culture this festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”, nowadays we call this goddess “La Catrina” and the celebrations used to last for a month. In modern times the Day of the Dead takes place on November 1st and 2nd. In November 1st we remember the children that have left this world, this day is call “el Día de los Santos Inocentes” and in November 2nd we remember the adults. People go to the cemeteries to visit their love ones that are not longer here and take flowers, food, music, etc.

In my family, every year we go to the cemetery to visit my grandparents, but since my father past away, we celebrate this day big! well, at least my family does in Mexico, they go to the cemetery to visit my dad’s grave and bring flowers, music, candles and food. All my family gather to be with him and to wait for him to come back to see us. My sister Cynthia always put an altar at her house with all the nice things my dad used to like. I do as well, put an altar, here in London to remember him and although I am not there with my family that day, I always feel this special feeling of togetherness and love.

The celebrations are beautiful, full of colour, food, flowers, music, love, etc. if you want to know more about “the Day of the Dead” go to my section in the blog Resources/ Mexican Culture: here

Today I am sharing the recipe of “Pan de Muerto” or “Bread of the Dead”, this is one of the many traditions that we do during those days. It is a sweet bread that is eaten during those days. The way this bread looks has a special meaning, the four  strings mean the bones of the dead and the ball on top signifies the heart of the dead person. It has an orangey smell “Azahar” that remind us to the dead..I absolutely love them. When I was younger, my mum used to work in a Mexican bakery, so we always used to have fresh sweet bread at home and during “el día de los muertos” we used to eat lots of this yummy bread.

I have to confess that I am not a baker or a good baker or anything close to a baking person, I think, baking is not in my nature, but every time I am going to bake something, I put the best of me and I try to get it as good as I can!, it took me a while to get this bread right, in fact, I did it three times and it wasn’t until the fourth when I got it right. It takes a while because you need to knead the dough very well so the bread rises nicely, but the end results are worth the effort.

Makes 1 medium Pan de muerto

Prep 1 hour approx

Bake 20 min approx

Ingredients

  • 250 gr all purpose flour
  • 7 gr dried active yeast
  • 75 gr caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 45 gr lightly salted butter
  • 3 gr salt
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 100 ml warm milk
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water

When it’s bake

  • 10 gr melted butter
  • 10 gr caster sugar

Method

First of all, turn on the oven to 200 degrees or gas mark 6, 10 min before start. Then lay all your ingredients ready to use on the surface you are going to work on.

Spread the flour on the surface that you are going to work, make a little hole in the middle so you can place the other ingredients.

Add the sugar, salt, orange zest, orange blossom water, butter and egg and mix these ingredients very well and add some milk, little by little and knead the dough for a bit. You probably won’t need to use all the milk. Leave these ingredients for a moment and start activating the yeast, in a bowl, add two tbsp of flour, dried yeast and one tbsp of sugar, then add some of the warm milk and mix. Leave the yeast in a warm place, it takes around 15 min approx to activate, when you see bubbles on top, that means that it is ready to be use.

Continue kneading the other ingredients. Once the yeast is activated, add it to the rest of the ingredients and continue kneading until all the ingredients are well combine. Don’t worry or panic if your dough feels very sticky, it is fine, you just need to continue kneading until you get a dough that is not sticky and it feels elastic, then give it a shame of a ball.

Then, grease a bowl with a little butter and place the ball dough in the middle and put it in a warm place for around 30 min approx so the yeast does its magic. The ball will double the size, once it is like this, knead the dough a bit more and then make the ball again and cut some dough, cut that piece into three to make the filaments and the little ball that goes on top.

When you have done this, place the bread on the tray where it is going to be bake. Do not forget to grease the tray first. Then leave the bread to rise a bit more in a warm place for 15 min approx.

Then place it in the pre-heat oven and bake for 20 min approx or less, depending on your oven. Take it out when it is golden brown and the centre is cooked, cover it with the melted butter and sprinkle it with caster sugar. Enjoy it with a nice cup of hot Mexican chocolate!

Listo!

Provecho!

Paletas Heladas de Sandía (Watermelon Ice Lollies)

  
I remember when I was a child my mum used to make “Hielitos” which were like a sort of ice lollies but instead of being lollies with a stick, my mum used to used a little plastic bag, this is a very common way to make ice lollies in Mexico, I used to love them, but I remember that my mum used to use cool-aid, a sort of flavour powder, my watermelon lollies are much nicer and healthier, so, sorry mum! 

Makes 6 small ice lollies

Ingredients

  • Half a watermelon cut in chunks and deseeded
  • 1 tbsp Organic Agave Syrup or more if you have a sweet tooth

You need:

Ice lollies cases

Method 

Put the watermelon with the Agave syrup in a blender or in a jar and blend with a hand blender. Pour into the lollies cases and freeze until they are frozen. 

To take them out of their cases, just pass them through some hot water and they will come out with no problem.

Listo! 

Provecho!