The Christmas holiday is a wonderful time of celebration, fun, family, and food. Though no one needs an excuse to eat, Christmas is not the same without (several) feasts. For many Mexican families, Christmas dinner is eaten on Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena. With a rich cornucopia of holiday dishes to choose from, there’s many opportunities to create a feast filled with dishes which delight the tastebuds. Here are a few recipes for inspiration:
Tamales are particularly popular at Christmas time and will often be served as part of dinner on Christmas eve.
Chicken Tamales Recipe from Maseca Collection
Ingredients: 6 cups Maseca Corn Masa Mix for Tamales
6 cups Chicken broth
1 cup corn oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 large rotisserie chicken
2 cans salsa verde or tomatillo sauce
1 bag corn husks
Mexican Recipe Instructions: Soak the corn husks in warm water until soft. Blend with an electric mixer Maseca corn masa mix for tamales, corn oil, salt, baking powder and the chicken broth to obtain a consistent mixture. Shred the chicken and marinate in the green salsa or tomatillo sauce. Spread masa evenly over corn husks, and spread a spoonful of marinated chicken on top of the masa. Fold the sides of the corn husk to center over the masa so that they overlap to make along package. Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rest against the side of the tamale with a seam. Place the tamales in a steamer and cook tamales for 35-40 minutes. Check every 20 minutes.The tamales are cooked when they separate easily from the corn husk.
At the posadas parties in the lead up to Christmas Mexicans will serve a drink called ponche con piquete. It is a hot punch based on pulped seasonal fruits mixed with spices such as cinnamon, with an added shot of something alcoholic such as rum, brandy or tequila.
Ponche con piquete
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 1/8ths
3/4 cup raisins
1 pound guava, quartered 3 (3 to 4-inch) pieces sugarcane, each cut in strips
1/2 cup prunes
1/2 pound crabapples, peeled and cored
2 cups (1-inch) diced pineapple
1 cup sugar
4 (2-inch) pieces Mexican cinnamon
8 cups water Tequila
Directions: In a large pot, place the fruit, sugar, cinnamon, and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Serve hot in a mug that has a shot of tequila in it.
Tres Leches Cake: Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake is a butter cake flavored with vanilla. It is soaked in a mixture of three different milk products, hence the name Tres Leches. The three milks, when combined, create just the right sweetness, density and mouth feel for a rich cake, making it moist but not mushy.
Pastel de Tres Leches Recipe
For the Batter: 3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
6 egg whites
For the Milks:
2 cups evaporated milk Carnation (Leche Clavel)
1 1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 cups table cream
6 egg yolks
For the Meringue:
6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups light corn syrup or honey
2 limes, juice
Recipe Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12 by 8 inch cake pan. Prepare the batter: Cream butter. Gradually mix in sugar, and continue beating until mixture is light and creamy. Add egg yolks. Slowly mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Add vanilla extract, and slowly mix in milk until batter is thick. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Prepare the Milks: Blend evaporated and condensed milks and table cream with egg yolks in a blender or food processor. Bring half this mixture to a boil in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in remaining mixture. Pour over cake. Prepare the Meringue: In a double boiler, mix egg whites and sugar. Beat until stiff. Slowly add corn syrup or honey, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add lime juice and continue beating until shiny. Remove from heat. Invert cake on a deep dish or platter.Spread meringue over cake and decorate with strawberries. Serve at room temperature. (Biscocho de Tres Leches) (Three Milks cake)
Enjoy and happy holidays from MexGrocer!