Saturday, May 5, 2012
Cinco de Mayo Mexican Cheese Candy (Chongos Zamoranos)
The caramel syrup silk enrobes the firm pieces of cheese, as the heavenly combination of vanilla and cinnamon invades your senses. These chongos zamoranos are an ideal dessert to have on the Cinco de Mayo.
History of Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 5 de mayo)
This date is conmemorated because in 1862, in Puebla, Mexicans were able to defeat the French in a battle. They later lost other battles, but proudly remember that triumph. In the U.S. this celebration has become more generalized and is a day for enjoying all Mexican traditions. And of course one of the most important type of traditions involves Mexican food...
History of Chongos Zamoranos
By the whey.... Chongos Zamoranos are from the state of Michoacán in Mexico, one of three central states where milk candy has been produced. Chongos have been made since the 1600´s. In 1934, this candy was made for the first time by María Luisa Verduzco Vaca through an industrial process; nowadays, it can be found in cans in supermarkets.
8-10 cups of milk
1 rennet tablet (Mine was for 50 liters of milk)
Juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, up to 2 cups, to taste
4 cinnamon sticks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Warning! Chongos take a very long time to make. Place the milk in the largest pot you have. Place it on a stove burner and heat it at a medium heat. When it is warm, but before boiling, dissolve a rennet tablet in 1/4 cup water, and stir it quickly into the pot. Leave it for 30 minutes. When the surface of the milk, resembles one large piece of cheese and the liquid around it resembles plain water, test it for doneness by inserting a knife inside. When the blade comes out clean, the cheese is ready. Cut the surface with a knife into 1 inch squares. Sprinkle 1 cup of brown sugar over the cheese. Insert cinnamon stick pieces in between the cut pieces, and add vanilla. Let it cook at a low heat without boiling (so the curds won´t disintegrate) for 3 hours, until most of the liquid has evaporated, and, more importantly, the pieces of cheese are tough in texture. Pour out the liquid into another pan, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and cook until the liquid has thickened and turned into a syrup. Place the milk curds into a dish, and cover with some or all of the syrup. You can then serve it or chill in the refrigerator before serving for a more firm and cool taste.