Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Dispatches from the Grocery Store: Ate y Crema
Ate is a fruit paste made from a single fruit, any fruit- guava, quince, strawberry, pear, etc. It is sort of like jam made into candy. It is often displayed in rectangle pieces the size of a car battery and portioned out, as you wish. A delicious accompaniment to cheese, it adds color and a sly sweetness to a cheese plate. I have chopped it into small squares and dropped it into homemade mascarpone ice cream on its final churn-- ice cream studded with pretty little gems. If the concentrated fruit flavor and added sugar is not enough for you, you can buy it in these decadently tooth rotting rolls: a thin sheet of ate is laid out, then a layer of cajeta is spread across the ate, it is rolled into a long log, then rolled in sugar. Whoa! That can give any sticky sweet Indian dessert a run for its money!
Mexican crema- ok, this isn't a crazy exotic ingredient unlike, say the ubiquitous pickled pork skin that will perhaps make it onto this list later this week, but it is just soooooooooo good. It is somewhere between sour cream and creme fraiche-- somewhere being heaven. Buttery rich, with a tinge of sweet, countered by equally subtle sour, light on the lips. Before I moved to Mexico, we would buy creme fraiche or sour cream in tiny little containers, maybe four times a year. But crema, we buy weekly in quart-sized containers. I have been known to eat bowls of it with fruit for breakfast. Oscar looooooooovves crema tacos- that's a corn tortilla used as an edible plate for a ton 'o' crema.
In fact, come to think of it, an ate-crema sandwich might be delicious times dos! Come back tomorrow to see what Sniff is dishing up!