The Christmas celebrations come to an end January 6th in Mexico, the twelfth night of Christmas or the Day of the Three Kings, with no less fervor than the proceeding five weeks of feasting and pageantry. Since the colonial days, January 6th, Dia de Los Santos Reyes, is the day that children traditionally leave their shoes outside for the passing Kings to fill with presents and goodies, which always appear as if by magic. This tradition, far older than Santa Claus, marks the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East in Bethlehem, Melchor, Balthazar and Castor; who came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Infant Jesus. It is also customary to serve Rosco de Reyes or Crown of the Kings, a rich yeast bread shaped like a ring or doughnut. It is adorned with jewels of candied fruit and sugar with a tiny china doll or lima bean hidden inside representing the Christ Child.
When the cake is ritually cut, whoever finds the figure is crowned King or Queen for the day and chooses a consort to help rule the festivities. Then on Candelmas Day, February second, the winners are obliged to give a party for all their friends, un baile de com¬padres, a special day also honoring Godparents. This religious symbolism was apparently begun by the French Monks in the 13th Century who served Gateaux or Gallette des Rois on the 12th night of Christmas with a dried bean baked in it, which was to bring good fortune. Many believe that the custom to bake a bean inside a cake really dates back to pro Christian days. At pagan festivals or feasts of the fools, slices of cake were distributed among the participants and the lucky one to find the bean was king and ruler of the special event and presided over the dancing, games and buffoneries.
At one time the celebration of the Epiphany was also known as the Feast of Fools in the Old World. In Mexico, the two events were separated so that on December 28th, they celebrate El Dia de Los Santos Inocentes (Day of Holy Innocents) and on January 6th, they celebrate the Epiphany.
The bible story tells of how Herod, reigning in Palestine at the time of Christ's birth sent Three Wise Men to verify the birth of the miraculous child. Warned by an Angel in a dream that Herod planned to kill the Christ Child, Joseph and Mary tricked him and took Baby Jesus away into Egypt. Thus in an insane rage, Herod ordered the massacre of the innocents or children under 2 years of age in Bethlehem and its environs. This day has come to be a Fool's Day similar to Anglo Saxon April Fools' Day. It is time to play practical jokes and pranks called inocentadas in Spanish on friends and family members, to point out the innocence of others. One favorite trick is to borrow something of value from a friend and replace it with a useless toy and a note Innocent little dove you have let yourself be fooled, knowing that on this day, you should never lend a thing!" Be prepared for odd questions which require silly answers on this day to show you up for a fool and many other childish pranks played with good humor.
The festive tradition of baking the bread and crowning the Kings continues to this day. This celebration of the Epiphany involves a get together of family and friends at home to share a Rosca de Reyes. Families in La Manzanilla make gold and silver paper crowns to declare the rulers over their households. Little children parade about in extravagant costumes of Three Kings with fake mustaches and long false eyelashes to enhance their outfits. All this is done throughout the day, while munching crisp syrup drenched bunelo wafers amidst a sea of floating air borne balloons. According to some believers, if you tie your holiday list to a balloon and let it fly, your wishes will be delivered to the Magi. A delight for children of all ages.
The holiday festivities on the Day of Three Kings begins with a big bowl of fruit punch from Jalisco, made with a rich bodied homemade wine of wild cherries (vine de nance) alongside a tray full of the traditional delectable antojitos (see Index) including the popular favorite pumpkin seed tortillas. A festive treat at the table at this time of year in the state of Jalisco, noted for its abundance of pork, cereals, fruits and vegetables, is a huge alla or pot filled with a steaming stew or fricassee. In La Manzanilla, it is not uncommon to find a 'hole in the ground' steaming alla of birria, which is a whole kid or lamb, including the offals or insides, roasted in a clay pot sealed with masa dough and covered with dirt on the outside and sitting over a slow wood fire built in the ground. One need not dig up the backyard these days to prepare this delicacy; it can be made in a regular kitchen oven with choice cuts of available pork. The hearty chile ed meat is a meal in itself when served with lots of fresh hot corn tortillas and country style rice to sop up the savory sauce. All the family members are then invited to gather around a dessert table awash with a wide variety of sweet goodies including stuffed guavas and homemade pineapple candy. Note: Family members often means that a minimum of 40 people appear at the table counting 9 siblings with spouses and 3 children per unit. Everyone partakes in the Rosco de Reyes or Crown of Kings' Bread cutting ritual with the appointment of the King and/or Queen for the day's activities.
An appropriate starter for the late afternoon comida on January 6th in La Manzanilla is a cup of refreshing cold melon soup followed by a half portion of fillet of sole in a spinach casserole.
The supporting cast for the rustic meat entree of birria or an Indian pumpkin seed and pork fricassee features a country style rice and a skillet salad of peppers and onions for balance in texture, flavor and color. Baked guavas stuffed with creamed coconut with horchata (almond nut tea) provide the customary sweet touch to complete a traditional spicy hot Mexican dinner. The night's vigil is usually concluded with breaking the piñata and happy little children go off to bed in anticipation of more food, gifts and games at the next fiesta.
WILD CHERRY PUNCH (Ponche de Nance)
When Columbus discovered America, wine was unknown to the continent and not until Friar Junipero Serra brought grape seeds and cuttings did the wine industry begin in Mexico. How¬ever, due to the bans established by King Phillip II of Spain, who feared competition, the manufacturing of grape wine suffered, but the restrictions did give impetus to the individual production of delicious homemade wines in localities where fruit orchards thrived.
ELIXIR OF NANCE OR WILD CHERRY (Licor de Nance)
Nance, a yellow wild cherry common in the sandy sails of the coast, is well suited for wine making because of its sweet acidity content. The local tropical wild cherry is popular in La Manzanilla with the school children as a nibble while waiting for the bus, but it also makes a sweet sour fruity elixir for sipping as a wine while the fermented wild cherries make good eating too!
2 c. nances or yellow sour 2 c. sugar
cherries 8 peppercorns
2 c. pure sugar cane alcohol, 10 whole cloves
Aguadiente 1 whole nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
2 liters distilled or boiled water
Pick nances off stems. Wash well and drain. Combine nances with sugar and aguadiente and a spice bag of cheesecloth containing crushed peppercorns, cinnamon stick, crushed whole cloves and crushed whole nutmeg, in a clean stoneware crock or a 2 liter glass jar or plastic pitcher. Lightly cover with a clean tea towel. Keep at room temperature for 4 days. Stir daily until sugar dissolves. Promptly skim off any froth that surfaces during fermentation. Crush nances with a potato masher and add chilled distilled water. Cover securely, as air tight as possible, and keep at room temperature for 2 weeks longer. Remove spice bag. Strain elixir through 4 layers of cheesecloth set in a wire strainer, into a decorative decanter. Reserve mashed nances for punch or preserves. Note: Nances may be substituted with peaches, guavas or quince.
WILD CHERRY PUNCH (Ponche de Nances)
Nance elixir or liqueur added to dry white wine and fruit in season makes a light afternoon punch which can be served hot or cold depending on taste.
4 liters dry white wine 1 liter Agua Mineral or soda
2 c. nance elixir water
1 c. sugar 1 c. fresh nances
3 oranges 1 c. water
1 c. fresh strawberries (optional) 3 apples
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water. Simmer cleaned nances in syrup for 15 minutes until slightly tender, not mushy. Cool. Add to dry white wine and nance liqueur. Pour over crushed ice in a punch bowl. Float 3 finely sliced oranges with unpeeled diced apples and quartered strawberries, if available. Just before serving, add Agua Mineral or soda water. Ladle into chilled punch cups, including a few pieces of the fruit. For a non alcoholic drink, simply add the cooked nances in syrup to the soda water and diced fruit and pour over crushed ice.
PUMPKIN SEED TORTlLLAS (Papatzul)
Mexican cookery is varied and regional and each area has its specialties. The Mayans from the southern peninsula, Yucatan, have cultivated and used pumpkin seeds freely in their cooking since long before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores. From the Yucatan comes this unique favorite appetizer or antojito, a tortilla dipped in pumpkin seed sauce and filled with hard boiled eggs. They are called papatzules or "foods for the Lords" and so named by the Spanish when they first encountered this tasty Mayan dish.
12 tortillas 8 hard cooked eggs
1/2 c. chopped onion 1/2 c. grated raw carrots
1 tsp. salt 3 Tbsp. oil
1 recipe pumpkin seed sauce 1 c. jitomate sauce
(see Index) or 1/2 c. (see Index)
peanut butter with 1 c. fresh green tomatillo sauce*
*See Index or use 1 can green chile sauce.
Chop hard cooked eggs, onions and grated carrots together until very fine. Blend in salt and oil. Set aside. Heat pumpkin seed sauce or prepare 'pipian rapido' using 1/4 cup peanut butter blended with 1 can of Mexican green Chile sauce or 1 cup home¬made tomatillo sauce. Dip tortillas one at a time in the sauce and coat lightly. Spread a heaping spoonful of egg mixture on moistened tortilla. Roll up loosely and arrange in a single layer in an oven proof baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the 12 filled tortillas. Heat the jitomate sauce and pour it over the papatzules. Keep warm in oven at 100° C until ready to use, not hot but lukewarm. Cut in half or thirds when served as an appetizer for it can be very filling when served whole. Place 2 or 3 pieces in small individual bowls to catch the drippings from the sauces.
COLD MELON SOUP (Sopa de Melon Fría)
A creamy sherry scented melon soup has special appeal and sparkle in the hot tropics and is considered a standby for social occasions in La Manzanilla. Usually served as a prelude to dinner, its refreshing goodness is also delicious with salads, tacos or quesadillas at midmorning or midnight.
1 cantaloupe 2 c. strawberries (if available)
2 Tbsp. orange liqueur (see 3 cans pear nectar
Index) 2 Tbsp. cornstarch or maisena
2 Tbsp. grated orange peel 1 small can evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. sparkling wine or sprigs of fresh mint
Marinate cantaloupe cut into balls or cubes and strawberries hulled and cut into halves in 2 tablespoons orange liqueur for 1 hour. Add cornstarch and grated orange peel to cold pear nectar and cook slowly until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cool. Add wine, evaporated milk and marinated fruit. Serve in chilled earthenware mugs. Garnish with a mint lest.
CASSEROLE OF SOLE AND SPlNACH (Lenguado con Acelgas)
A strange yet delicious fish combination is a casserole of fillets of sole with spinach and bananas covered with a Chile flavored nut sauce. A welcomed change of pace for the fish fancier, this Mexican Hispanic dish is similar to an old fish specialty from Seville where Latin American influences are strongly felt in food. It was from Cadiz (seaport for Seville) that the navigators and conquistadores set sail for the West in the 15th Century and the foods of the New World were readily intermingled with the Andalucian cuisine. Hence it is often difficult to label a dish Spanish or Mexican.
1 1/2 kilos fillet of sole or 1 c. dry white wine
flounder 2 garlic cloves
2 onions 1/2 tsp. salt
6 canned serrano chiles 1/2 kilo Swiss chard or spinach
10 green Mexican tomatoes 1/4 tsp. salt
(tomatillos) 1/8 tsp. nutmeg powder
1 Tbsp. melted butter 4 large plantain bananas
1/8 tsp. pepper 1/2 c. walnuts
4 Tbsp. oil 1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 c. almonds 1 small can asparagus tips
1 Tbsp. sesame seed
1tsp. coriander powder or 3 Tbsp.
Prepare spinach: Discard tough stems, break up large leaves, wash thoroughly in water with 1 tablespoon white vinegar added, rinse, drain and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Steam in water clinging to leaves until just wilted. Check for pungent flavor as Mexican spinach may turn out to be Swiss chard or mustard greens. Drain and rinse several times under cold water if too acrid. Drain, chop fine and toss with melted butter. Arrange over bottom of large shallow casserole. Set aside. Peel and slice large plantain bananas (plantanos machos) lengthwise, then cut in half crosswise. Saute' lightly in oil until browned. Arrange on both sides of the casserole over the bed of spinach. Make a court bouillon (see Index) or a wine broth by simmering chopped green Mexican tomatoes, minced onions, minced garlic, cloves and salt in dry white wine for 20 minutes.
Poach fish fillets in wine broth until they flake easily when tested with a fork. Transfer fillets carefully to casserole and reserve wine broth. Place fillets on top of spinach and arrange canned asparagus tips over all ingredients. Keep casserole warm and set aside to prepare sauce. Puree almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, canned serrano chiles (rinsed, drained and seeds removed) and chopped fresh cilantro with reserved wine broth including the chopped onions, green tomatoes and garlic in a blender into a smooth sauce. Heat, but do not boil. Pour over all ingredients. Place under broiler about 4 inches from heat to toast slightly. Serve in half portions on a clean clam or abalone shell.
POT ROASTED PORK (Lima de Puerto)
Birria is a rustic dish of roasted whole kid or lamb (and in poorer homes just the offal), a Mexican kind of osso buco tra¬ditionally cooked in a hole in the ground or pit barbeque. Like many Mexican dishes, it is spice based. That means it depends on a specific blend of spires including cumin, coriander and hot chile peppers for its interesting and unusual flavor. It works exceptionally well for buffets because it stays warm and portions can be in¬ creased with the addition of more tortillas. This recipe with 7 kilos of choice pork cuts prepared in the oven is derived from a popular streetside stand in La Manzanilla noted for its delectable tacos de birria and has a suave provocatively spicy sauce.
6 Chile anchos 15 peppercorns
6 whole cloves 8 garlic cloves
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbsp. salt 1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 onion 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 C. cider vinegar (see Index) 2 pig's feet (pates de puerco)
2 kilos pork shoulder 2 kilos pork loin (lomo de puerco)
(espaldilla de puerco) 1 kilo pig's head cut into pieces
2 kilos pork ribs (costillas (optional)
de puerco) 1 onion
6 tomatoes 1 Tbsp. pure chile powder
Soak Chile anchos in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove veins and seeds. Puree in blender with peppercorns, whole cloves, dried oregano leaves, cumin seeds, salt, garlic cloves, cinnamon, onion, sugar and cider vinegar (see Index), into a coarse paste. Note: In the authentic Mexican kitchen, a molcajete and tejolote or mortar and pestle are used to mash to a pulp the chiles and spices. Spread the Chile paste over all of the meat, the pork shoulder, ribs, loins and feet after slashing the meat in several places down to the bone. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Place meat on a rack sitting over 3 cups of water in a large oven proof earthenware pot or in a 10 inch deep casserole with a lid. Seal the casserole with aluminum foil and then with the lid. Note: In the authentic Mexican kitchen, masa dough is used to seal in the vapors of this pot roast. Roast in oven at 170° C for 3 hours until meat is tender and is falling off the bones.
Remove meat. Discard the bones (optional). Skim off fat and strain pan juices. Reheat juices and add mashed tomatoes and 1 tablespoon pure Chile powder. Simmer for 15 minutes or until it is slightly thickened. Correct the seasoning. Serve 1/2 cup sauce poured over a few chunks of meat into each individual bowl. Sprinkle with chopped onion. Serve with lots of fresh hot corn tortillas set nearby for dunking in the sauce.
INDIAN FRICASSEE (Pipian de Puerto)
Truly exotic classic dishes of the early Mayan civilization are pipian de pate or wild duck fricassee and pipian de camarones or shrimp. The pipian sauce or fricassee as described by Fra Sahugan in his massive records of the Indian life before the Spanish con¬quest, differs from the moles in that it is less elaborate and con¬tains red or green chiles, ground pumpkin seeds, almonds or any oily seed such as sesame or peanut. A popular contemporary version with roots in the pueblos of Mexico uses chicken or pork with a short cut (commercial preparation in a jar see Index) pipian sauce. It is a perfect feast day dish because its resultant medley of flavors all blend harmoniously and leave a pleasant afterglow in the mouth.
2 onions 4 Tbsp. oil or lard
1 carrot 1 chayote
1 celery stalk 1 c. water
1/2 tsp. ground cloves 1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt 2/3 c. pumpkin seeds
2 kilos pork ribs (costillas l/4 c. sesame seeds
de puerco) 6 canned serrano chiles
2 kilos pork loin (lomo de puerco) 2 garlic cloves
1 kilo pork head cut in pieces 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
(optional) 1/2 kilo green tomatillos
Saute' chopped onion in hot oil. Add sliced carrots, diced chayote, diced celery stalk and water. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Cut pork loin and ribs into bite size and dust pieces with salt, ground cloves and cinuamon. Add to stewed base with 2 more cups of water. Simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Drain. Reserve stock and set aside meat in an oven proof casserole. Pulverize dry shelled and toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds in electric blender as fine as possible. Rinse canned serrano chiles and drain. Puree chiles, stewed vegetables from meat stock, green tomatillas (with brown papery husks removed), garlic cloves and fresh cilantro in an electric blender into a coarse paste. Add ground pumpkin and sesame seeds to pureed mixture and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, using enough of the meat stock to make a thick creamy sauce. If sauce separates, puree all in blender into a smooth creamy consistency. Pour over cooked pork loin and ribs. Bake in oven at 170° C for 1/2 hour or until heated through. Serve hot with country style rice. Note: Prepared Salsa de Pipian by Dona Maria is available in a jar at any Mexican market.
COUNTRY STYLE RICE (Arroz Rancheros)
From the paddy fields around Morelos, where bright green sheaves of growing rice shoot up through the marshy water, comes this irresistable country style rice dish. It is a most compatible pasta course to a festive alla de birria or pipian pot of fricassee.
1 c. rice 2 Tbsp. oil
1 onion 1 garlic clove
2 c. water with 1 tsp. salt or 2 poblano chiles or
stock bell peppers
1 c. fresh mushrooms or 1 onion
canned 1 c. asadero style cheese
1 c. fresh corn kernels or 1/2 c. hot milk
canned 1 bar margarine
Saute' rice, 1 chopped onion and minced garlic clove in oil until all the oil is absorbed. Add water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook rice until tender and all water is absorbed. Avoid stirring rice. Set aside in a greased bowl. Toast poblano chiles and blister to remove peel as directed in Chapter II. Cut into 1/2 inch strips. Lightly fry chile strips with remaining chopped onion, corn and mushrooms. In a greased baking dish, layer the cooked rice, dots of margarine and chile and corn mixture. Cover with sliced asadera style cheese. Pour hot milk on to cover top layer of casserole. Bake in oven at 180° C until slightly browned and cheese has melted.
SKILLET SALAD OR CHILES (Ensalada de Sarten con Chiles)
In Mexico, unadorned cooked vegetables are considered uninteresting and are rarely served alone. In the Mexican cuisine, they are viewed like a clay pot without a colorful design, and are usually worked into other dishes. Stewed in a soup or stew, they are served as a first course salad after the soup and rice dishes, dressed up, of course, with a sauce. A very unusual and refreshing presentation is a skillet fried salad served hot or cold; an easy to make favorite at fiestas in La Manzanilla.
5 onions 6 Chile poblanos or bell peppers
1/4 c. oil 6 tomatoes 2 (7 oz.) jars whole red pimentos 1 tsp. salt 1 avocado pomegranate seeds (optional) 1 lime
Peel and thinly slice the onions into rings. Toast the peppers and steam or sweat in a plastic bag for 15 minutes. Remove skins and seeds and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. Saute' onions and peppers in hot oil for 10 minutes or until slightly colored. Cut tomatoes into slices. Drain pimentos and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Add pimentos and tomatoes to onions and peppers. Season with salt to taste. Cook 5 minutes longer or until tomatoes are soft but not mushy. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with thin slices of avocado dipped in lime juice and a few pomegranate seeds, if available.
BANANA SALAD (Ensalada de Platano)
In La Manzanilla there are dozens of species of bananas, ranging from the tiny finger bananas or plantanos manzanos with an apple flavor to the tangy taste of the giant macho or platano morado. An unusual but impressive tropical condiment to a spicy meat dish is a fresh banana salad made with ripe firm yellow bananas or plantanos tabasco. Note: While bananas are green, keep well wrapped in newspaper at room temperature until yellow in color.
6 8 ripe firm yellow 1/2 c. orange juice
eating bananas 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 can sweetened condensed 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
milk (Lechera) 1 c. chopped peanuts
1 c. jocoque or buttermilk or lettuce leaves
sour cream 2 oranges
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Prepare salad dressing and refrigerate. Blend canned sweetened condensed milk (Lechera) with jocoque or Mexican buttermilk, nutmeg, cayenne popper and lime juice. While dressing is chilling, peel and slice firm ripe bananas crosswise and dip slices into orange juice to prevent discoloration. Arrange on a bed of lettuce, soaked in a microdyne solution, drained and shredded. Pour chilled dressing on top. Garnish with chopped peanuts and thin slices of orange.
STUDIED GUAVAS WITH COCONUT CREAM (Guavas Rellenas con
The diversity of climatic zones and altitudes, ranging from tropical sea level to high cold tableland in Mexico, means a large variety of fruit. Guavas grow wild in La Manzanilla and the local natives are addicted to eating them directly off the trees with pits and all. The subtle sweet sour flavor and the pinkish flesh of the cultivated guavas are relished in fruit pastes and fruitades. The ripe plump guavas are also stuffed with a coconut cream for a rich dinner dessert.
1 c. water 1 c. sugar
12 fresh guavas or canned 1 c. dehydrated shredded coconut
2 c. sugar with 1/2 c. hot water
1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 c. orange juice
10 egg yolks 1/2 c. brandy
Cut ripe guavas in half. Poach washed and unpeeled guava halves in a light syrup of 1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiling water. Drain, reserve syrup and set guava halves aside. Soak dehydrated shredded coconut in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes. Prepare coconut fondue filling. To reserved guava syrup add 2 cups sugar, cinnamon and orange juice. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes until it forms a thin thready semi liquid. Add moistened coconut and continue cooking, stirring constantly until coconut is transparent and the syrup is thickened so that the bottom of the pan can be seen. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Beat egg yolks lightly and stir into coconut mixture. Reheat and cook for 15 minutes longer until mixture is almost dry. Mix continuously to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and gently fold in brandy. Cool. Fill each guava half with a tablespoon of cocada. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Place under the broiler until filling is slightly browned. Watch closely so that they don't burn. Set aside to cool. Serve with a simple Mexican sugar cookie or polvorone (see Index) and a horchata almond tea. Note: The creamy coconut fondant can be made into candy balls with red and green food coloring to repeat the tricolors of the Mexican flag for patriotic celebrations. Then they are baked in oven at 170° C for 5 minutes.
ALMOND TEA OR TIGER'S MILK (Horchata de Fruta)
A very popular beverage in Mexico dating back to the Aztecs is a non alcoholic drink called horchata. It is made by steeping melon seeds with almonds or shredded coconut in water for a few days. The infusion is then strained, flavored with sugar and orange blossom water. This thick creamy brew is similar to the horchata of Spain and France which calls for chutes or tiger nuts for the base.
1 c. melon seeds 1 c. blanched almonds
1 liter water 1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind 1 tsp. orange extract
Clean melon seeds and puree in blender. Grind blanched almonds into a powder. Combine both with water, sugar, grated orange rind and orange extract. Store in refrigerator overnight. Strain through 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth into a pitcher, squeezing it hard to extract all the milk from the seeds and nuts. Serve in a tall glass over crushed ice. Note: In poorer homes, when almonds are not available, rice is used instead.
PINEAPPLE CONFECTION (Bocadillo de Piña)
On January 6th, Three Kings' Day, the children's shoes which have been left outside, are filled with homemade candies, mandarin oranges and bags of colored palamitas or popcorn. A simple pineapple confection, often found as a shoe filler, is nice to have around the house at all times for the young and old, especially when local pineapples are plentiful.
2 c. raw rice 6 c. water
8 c. grated fresh pineapple 10 c. sugar red food coloring powdered sugar
Simmer rice with water in a covered pan for 30 minutes until rice is tender. Puree rice in electric blender into a paste. Reheat with grated fresh pineapple and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture is dry and bottom of pan is visible. Add a few drops of red food coloring. Cool enough to handle. Pat into a rectangle 3/4 inch thick on a board lined with waxed paper. Chill. Cut into 2 1/2 x 1/2 inch strips. Roll strips in powdered sugar. Preserve individual strips in 3 x 3 inch squares of waxed paper, twisting the ends to seal. Place in candy dish and serve.
KINGS' CROlIVN BREAD (Rosca de Reyes)
Kings' Crown is a rich sweet yeast bread, enjoyed by children of all ages. The cake, topped with strips of sweet candied pumpkin and fruit pastes and colored sugars, contains at least one small figure symbolizing the Christ Child. The cake is ritually cut and the lucky one to find the China doll is King of the day and head of the family.
2 packages active dry yeast 1/2 c. tepid water
1/2 c. sugar 2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tsp. grated lime peel
1/3 c. scalded milk 3 eggs
5 c. flour 1/2 c. melted butter
2/3 c. chopped candied cactus 1/2 c. glazed orange peel
(biznaga) (see Index)
1 China doll 2 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp. lime juice 2 Tbsp. water
yellow, green and red food candied maraschino cherries
nuts candied pumpkin (optional)
Soften yeast in tepid water along with 1 tablespoon sugar. Add remaining sugar, salt, nutmeg, grated lime rind and scalded milk cooled to lukewarm. Beat in eggs. Stir in 2 cups sifted flour and beat batter until it falls in a sheet from a spoon. Add melted butter and chopped glazed orange peel. Mix well together with the addition of 2 more cups of sifted flour. Turn out on a slightly floured board. Knead in the remaining 1 cup of sifted flour. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and satiny, no longer sticky and comes off hands easily. Turn into a greased bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel. Let rise in warm place until double in volume for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough and divide into 3 equal portions. Cover with towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Place a foil wrapped China doll (not plastic) or bean in 1 portion of dough. Roll each portion of dough into strips 30 inches long. Braid strips. Shape into an oval or ring on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with towel and allow to rise until double in size. Decorate with jewels of candied pumpkin, maraschino cherries and whole nuts. Bake in oven at 180° C for 30 minutes until golden. Cool on rack. Combine sifted powdered sugar with lime juice and water to glaze baked cake. Mix well and divide into 3 equal parts. Color each part of powdered sugar mix with yellow, green and red food coloring
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