Atole or atol is a traditional masa beverage served in most Mexican homes for either breakfast or dinner. It is a comforting hot drink that is nutritious and a tradition of ours to celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men or “Reyes Magos” on January 6. Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar in their journey to come and meet the newborn king they brought gold to honor and recognize Baby Jesus as a king; they also brought frankincense to celebrate God’s divinity and myrrh to acknowledge the Jesus human suffering. In order to celebrate the arrival of baby Jesus during this time we remember that biblical passage by gifting the children in our home, sharing and eating rosca de reyes and drinking atole or hot chocolate for “la merienda“. That is why today I want to share with you a special recipe that I cherish: Guava Atole that marries my prehispanic roots with the tropical flavor of the pink guava. I invite you to join me in keeping this Guava Atole and the Three Kings Mexican Tradition alive!
- 1 can of evaporated milk (12 ounces, you can use fresh milk or replace with almond or coconut milk)
- 3 cups of purified water
- 1 can of guavas in syrup (17 ounces)
- 1/2 cup purified of water
- 4 teaspoons of corn starch
- 3 teaspoons of sugar on the raw
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Serves 4 cups. Cost per person less than a $1.50 depending on the ingredients cost at your local supermarket. For this Guava Aotle recipe you will need a pot or a sauce pan, a whisk, a blender, a small bowl and a spoon.
In a saucepan or a pot add the milk and the 3 cups of water, let the mixture get to a boiling point. In the mean time pour the guavas into the blender and combine until getting a smooth sauce. Add that guava sauce to the milk and combine using a whisk. When the milk with the guava sauce gets to a boiling point reduce the heat to medium and whisk again. Add the cornstarch to a small bowl along with the sugar on the raw and dilute with half cup of water and then add to the milk guava mixture and continue whisking until getting a smooth but thick consistency, serve the guava atole hot.
For the Mexican culture and for us Catholics Three Kings festivity is very important as it is the celebration of the Epiphany. On January 5th the day before the arrival of the Three Kings we attend mass and have dinner as a family serving tamales, a special bread called “Rosca de Reyes” and atole. The rosca de reyes is part of the inheritance from the Spaniard’s whom along with the Christianity they brought the culture and craft of the bread. This rosca is sweet and it is made of a dough with the scent of the orange spice and the star anise. The decorations are humble and include dry fruits and a sugar egg batter topping adding different textures. This bread also has many symbols, somewhere inside the rosca there is a little plastic figurine of the Baby Jesus, symbolizing the need to find a secure place where Virgin Mary could give birth to protect the child from Roman King Herod the Great whom on December 28 ordered the execution of all the young male children in Bethlehem to avoid the loss of his throne to the newborn King Jesus Christ. That tragic day is remembered as the “Day of the Holy Innocents”. If you thought the celebration of the Three Kings Day in January 6 is the end of the Christmas festivities is incorrect it actually extends until February 2, Day of the Candelaria when Baby Jesus is dressed and placed in a niche and until then the rest of the Nativity scene is put away until following year. That is why many of us keep our Christmas decorations until February 3rd.
Hoping you have enjoyed this Guava Atole recipe and the background regarding the Three Kings Celebration. Wishing you all a blessed year in company of all of those you love.
Happy Dia de Reyes for everyone!