Atol de Elote!


Native to Central America and Mexico, el atol usually refers to a thick, hot, and sweet milk drink flavored with any number of things.  There are many types of atol, also called atole for short, and not all versions are sweet.

Here are a few of the most common types of sweet atol: atol made of corn (atol de elote), atol made of mango (atol de mango), atol made of pineapple (atol de pina), and atol made of the tropical pinal fruit (atol de pinuela).  The salty, non-sweet version of atol is made with black corn, pumpkin or other squash, beans, and spices such as chiles.  This type of atol, referred to as atol chuco (also spelled shuco), literally, dirty atole, is usually eaten for breakfast in El Salvador.


Some people make atole as a pudding.  Others make atole into a hot drink.  And still others prefer to serve atole in the form of a soup.  One of the great things about atole is that you can choose to make it in any form you like.  Try all three and pick your favorite, or better yet, ask your kids to pick their favorite and make the recipe your own.

Some prefer to use white corn to make their atol de elote, which is what is generally done in most of Latin America.  Others like to use yellow corn because it gives the atole a more deep and rustic flavor.  You also have the option of using corn straight off the cob or corn that comes from a can.  Both choices work equally well.  I suggest trying a few of these variations and then picking what works best for your household.   

Here's my recipe for a quick atol de elote, in the form of a thick, hot drink. This recipe will make a big pot full, enough to fill a Styrofoam cup to the brim for about 20-25 people.

Ingredients:

10-15, fresh, large ears of white corn**See my note at bottom about why to look for large ears of corn
7 cup of cold water
1/2 gallon of milk (I use whole milk for a creamier atole)
3-4 cups of granulated white sugar, depending on how sweet you like your atole
8 oz (1 cup) of cornstarch (se llama maizena en espanol), dissolved completely in about 1 cup of milk
2-3 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of salt

Directions:
  • Remove leaves from the ears.  (If you are going to use the ears to make tamales de elote, remove the ears by chopping their stems at bottom and slowly pealing the leaves off so that you do not rip them.) 
  • Remove kernels from the cob using a knife and place them into a bowl.
  • Blend corn kernels in batches in blender until completely pureed, pour pureed corn into big bowl.
  • Pour pureed corn little by little through a cheese cloth or fine sieve over a bowl to get out all the liquid.
  • You will get about 1- 2 cups of corn water from the 10-15 ears of corn that you have pureed.
  • Wash the remaining corn in the sieve or cloth with the 7 cups of water by pouring the water directly over the cloth or sieve so that the water goes into the bowl as well after its washed through the corn.
  • Place this mixture of corn water and water into a large metal pot.  
  • Add the 3-4 cups of sugar and place pot onto stove on medium. 
  • Stir the sugar around with a large spoon until mixture gets warm
  • Bring mixture to a boil
  • As soon as corn water/sugar mixture starts to boil, add 1/2 gallon of milk
  • In a seperate bowl, dissolve the 1 cup of cornstarch in about 1 cup of milk. Mix cornstarch with milk completely until it is totally dissolved.
  • Add the entire cornstarch mixture to the atole but add slowly little by little, stirring constantly so that no bumps or bubbles form.
  • Continue to stir the atole until bubbles start to form.
  • Once begins to boil, turn off heat, remove pot from stove and let cool. 
  • Pour atole into Styrofoam cups and serve warm.
Buen Provecho! 

**NOTE:  I generally make tamales de elote, or sweet corn tamales, when I make atole because the first few steps are exactly the same.  You need large leaves to wrap the corn tamales in, so this is why I try to buy large corn ears when I buy the corn for the atole.  The bigger the corn, the bigger the leaves, and the better the leaves will be for steaming the corn tamales.

You can view my recipe for tamales de elote here:  Tamales de Elote!

Here are a few pictures of the atole making process:
















What is your favorite flavor of atole?


10 comments:

Ann said...

This is great! I've never had Atol before. I'd have to omit the cinnamon due to allergies. I think I would like it best either as a pudding or a hot drink.

Rico said...

Looks like something i'd love to try as I never saw this before....yum yum

Rico-Tried and Tested Recipes

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. said...

This sounds wonderful! I don't think that I've ever had an et atol, but it looks yummy!!

Mary said...

This sounds wonderful and it is a type of drink I've never had. I'll have to remedy that. This is my first visit to your blog, but I will be back. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I enjoyed the time I spent here. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Jennifer said...

Interesting! So different.

pabloplato said...

i love atole! i tried to make it once from a box - bad idea. it tasted kinda gross and, as like you mentioned, i think the powered corn must have curdled the milk somehow.

but your recipe looks super easy, and the colour and consistency looks like what i remember - i will have to try this one :)

would love it if you posted a recipe for chuco :)

pabloplato said...

i love atole! i tried making it once (from a box - bad idea!) and was very disappointed (i think the powdered corn mixture must have curdled the milk somehow). your recipe looks super easy, and it looks the right colour and consistency as i remember. can't wait to try it!

i would also love if you could post a recipe for chuco :) yum!

rosie said...

Al fin encontré la receta que buscaba gracias.

Anonymous said...

Hola Cipota, Thank you for the recipe. I am Salvadorean and you know more about Salvadorean food than I do.

Congratulations
Ana

Anonymous said...

I am from El SAlvador and this is made there. I miss having atop de elite. Now I will try making it!!!

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