Saturday, August 4, 2012

Milk Pastries for San Salvador Festivities (August 3-6))

Dancers wearing colorful,  traditional costumes

The volcanic crater of Quezaltepeque

The sleepy crater resembled a giant, natural stadium, and we were the only fans in sight that day. "Look at the small store and the path into the crater", someone pointed at numerous trees that resembled moss or shrubs from far away, and even though I squinted, I failed to see anything. I could only tell that it must be a long trek downwards, into what could have been the center of the earth, as far as I was concerned. The zipline I had taken earlier that flew over these trees was much easier in comparison.
As we left, the path was sprinkled with small pieces of porous lava rocks, orchids, and red hibiscus flowers, and there were ladies selling warm corn beverages, flowers, or recently picked miniature wild raspberries. We had just visited the Volcano of San Salvador, or Quezaltepeque, near the capital city of El Salvador.
The previous statue, which was very similar, fell down during an earthquake in 1986, and a new one was built and set up in its place.

August Festivities
In San Salvador, the city's patron saint is Jesus, or the "Divine Saviour of the World" ("El Salvador del Mundo") The festivities last for four days, beginning on August the third, during which a national fair, rides, parades, and other activities take place. The entire country also has a day off on August the 6th, for the same occasion. 

Milk Pastries
Throughout most of El Salvador, soft round pastries are filled with a milk pastry cream, or apple or pineapple jelly. They are eaten year-round, and may be served for breakfast or dessert.

1 pound of sifted flour
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 pound of butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup warm water
3 egg yolks
4 teaspoons of baking powder
Mix the butter, salt, and egg yolks. Add the flour and baking powder. Then add the warm water slowly, until the dough is easy to handle. Roll it out and cut out 2-inch circles. Barely wet the edges of two circles, then place a teaspoonful of the white cream filling between both of them. Pinch the edges of the circles together until the pastry is completely sealed shut. Brush milk on the tops of the pastries and sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. 

White Cream Filling (Leche Poleada)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 piece of lime peel
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 cup of sugar
cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Stir two cups of milk with the lime peel, salt, and cinnamon stick; place it in a pot and heat it until it boils. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of milk, then add sugar and the warm milk liquid to it. Place it back in a pot, and stir on medium heat until it thickens. Remove it from heat; add vanilla.

The entire plaza was redesigned in 2011.

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