Since I love mangoes, and because they are readily available during the summer months, I decided to make this very delicious and fulfilling Mexican Mango Atole. Atole is especially good on a cold winter day, but I enjoy this drink all year, especially for breakfast. When chocolate is used, this is one of the most popular variations, it is called Champurrado.
The Mango Atole may be thick or thin depending upon a person’s tastes, but it should always be creamy with no lumps, but it can be as thick as porridge. It is served as a comfort food in Mexico and also served on several Mexican holidays. It is popular at all times of the year and any time of day. In fact, it is often drunk as a complete breakfast.
There are hundreds of varieties of Atole. The beauty of this drink is that you can use whatever happens to be plentiful and local (whatever grows in the region you live).
History of Atole:
This “stick to your ribs” drink dates back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and central America. The name comes from the Aztec word atolli. The drink typically includes masa harina (corn hominy flour), water, piloncillo (unrefined can sugar), cinnamon, and vanilla with chocolate or fruit of the season. In Northern Mexico and also South Texas, Atole (ah-TOH-lay) is a traditional comfort food that is used as a breakfast or an after dinner snack.
- 1/2 cup instant Masa/Maseca Tamale Corn Flour*
- 1 cup hot water
- 4 to 5 cups milk or water**
- 3 tablespoons pilocillo, chopped fine or grated***
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1 cup (approximately 1 to 2 mangoes) fresh mango pulp, mashed****
Place the masa harina and the hot water into the jar of a blender (I used my Vitamix; blend until smooth. Remove from blender, pour through into a heavy-duty large saucepan.
Add 4 to 5 cups water or milk (your choice) and bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring with a wire whisk, until the mixture starts to thicken. Stir in the pilocillo and vanilla extract until the sugar is dissolved, still stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
At this point, stir in the mashed mango pulp and then return the pan to the stove until the mixture is warmed, stirring constantly. If the mixture seem too thick, you can add additional water or milk. If the mixture seems too thin, just continue cooking and stirring until it thickens more.
Remove from heat and serve hot in mugs or bowls.
Store in an airtight container with plastic wrap on top. May refrigerate 3 to 4 days. When refrigerated, the Atole will thicken. To reheat, add a small amount of milk or water to thin and stir over low heat until warmed. You could also microwave to warm the Atole.
Makes approximately 5 to 6 cups.
* Do not confuse masa flour with cornmeal, as they are made from different types of corn and you will not achieve the same results if you use cornmeal. Masa mix can be purchased in Latin American markets or supermarkets that carry Latin American products. Masa/Maseca Tamale Corn Flour can also be purchased from What's Cooking America's online store..
** You could also use 1/2 water and 1/2 milk in the drink (your choice). Some recipes use evaporate milk. If you desire, you can substitute some evaporates milk in the recipe. Remember that evaporated milk contains sugar. Four (4) cups would make a thicker Atole drink. I, personally, like a thinner Atole and I used 5 cups of milk.
*** If you can't find piloncillo, substitute 1/4 cup brown sugar. For a more authentic flavor add 2 tablespoons molasses. I have also used unrefined sugar in the recipe.
**** I processed my mangoes in my blender.