Preparation / Directions:
Though there are many variations, basically "atole" is a gruel thickened
with masa, sweetened with raw sugar, and flavored with crushed fruits - such as pineapple and strawberries - or seasoned with chili. Some are made with a base of ground rice; others with fresh corn. For the Mexicans atole, too, is a natural accompaniment for tamales. For non-Mexicans, however, it is really not the sort of beverage that would generally be accepted, no matter how authentic.
Blackberry atole Put the blackberries and water into a saucepan and cook over a medium flame, pressing them down from time to time, for about 10 minutes. Puree the blackberries in a blender or food processor and press through a fine sieve, or the fine disk of a food mill, to extract the seeds, and return to the pan.
Add the water to the masa and press out any lumps with the back of a wooded spoon. When it is quite smooth, stir it into the strained blackberries. Cook over low heat, stirring often until the atole begins to thicken.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. It should take about 25 minutes to reach the required consistency, so that the mixture will very lightly
coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Champurrado (Chocolate-flavored atole) Put the masa into the pan with the 2/3 cup water and cook over a low flame, stirring constantly, until it thickens - about 5 minutes.
Gradually stir in the milk and water and cook until it begins to bubble. Add the chocolate, broken into pieces, the cinnamon stick, and the sugar
and cook slowly, stirring, until the mixture thickens - about 15 minutes. The atole is done when a spoonful slides noiselessly rather than plops back into the mixture.