As soon as the weather gets a little chilly, I want to start baking, cooking stews, and making atoles. Atole is a thick and hot Mexican drink made with corn that can have as many flavors as you can imagine. In this case it’s Blackberry Atole, or in Spanish, Atole de Zarzamoras. This version of Atole is popular in the central states of Mexico, especially in the state of Michoacán where the production of blackberries is the largest in the country. I didn’t know about blackberry atole until I went to live in Toluca in the State of Mexico, which happens to be next to Michoacán. The people from the nearby farms used to sell the blackberries at the local market, and the small eateries at the market offered the atole as part of their selection of hot drinks.
While I was making the atole, I read the label on the container and it said that the berries came from Michoacan, Mexico. The Piloncillo came from the State of Veracruz, and the corn flour was also from Mexico, so you could say that Mexico was literally in my kitchen and then in my cup!
- 1 1/2 cup of blackberries
- 4 cups of water
- ½ cup piloncillo, shredded*
- 6 tablespoons corn flour
- If you don’t find piloncillo use regular sugar. Some people prefer their atole a little bit on the sweeter side; adjust the sugar to your liking.
- Nowadays, cooks place everything in the blender, and then pour the mixture in the saucepan to cook.
1. Place blackberries in a saucepan with 1 ½ cup of water. Turn heat to medium high and cook. Once the water starts boiling, reduce heat and keep simmering for 5 minutes.
2. While the berries are cooking, mix the 6 tablespoons of corn flour in a small bowl with 1 cup of water and set aside.
3. Once the blackberries are cooked, place blackberries and cooking water into a blender. Wait some minutes for it to cool, and then process for a few seconds. Pour the fruit mixture into a bowl using a strainer to remove the seeds.
4. Now, place the remaining 1 ½ cup of water on the saucepan with the shredded piloncillo or sugar, and turn heat to medium high to dissolve the piloncillo. Once the water starts boiling, add the corn masa mixture Make sure it is very well mixed, if not you will have clumps. If you prefer, you can use a strainer to pour the corn flour mixture. Keep cooking at medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid the mixture from sticking to the bottom; it will take about 5 more minutes to start thickening.
5. Now, add the blackberry mixture and stir. Keep cooking and stirring at medium heat for about 12 more minutes.
Serve warm. Be very cautious when testing for sweetness, since it keeps hot for a long time.
Have you tried Atole before? What is your favorite flavor?