Vacation is no excuse not to put up at least the odd post, right? We made a little atole at Chez Pastry before we left, and a delightful refreshment it is too, especially on a cold winter day. It’s a simple Mexican concoction of sweetened, spiced milk thickened with corn starch. As with all things that call for only a few ingredients, the higher quality the ingredients, the better the end product.
Start by pouring five and a half cups of whole milk into a large sauce pan. Set it on medium heat.
Combine another half cup of milk with a third cup of corn starch. Whisk it together into a smooth mixture.
Scrape the seeds of one vanilla bean into the warming milk.
Now add about a third cup of sugar to the mixture. Ideally it’ll be Mexican pilconcillo, but light brown sugar works very well too. Whatever will give your atole the hint of molasses flavor it needs.
Drop in a cinnamon stick and stir the mixture until the sugar melts. Then add the corn starch mixture. Bring the atole to a simmer over medium heat. Be careful with the heat since this mixture, being both sweet and thick, can scorch easily. Once it boils, it’s as thick as it’s going to get.
Take it off the heat. Drink it warm!