Mexico’s Christmas season kicks off on December 16, with nine days of Posadas, candlelight processions and fiestas celebrating the birth of the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Every Posada is followed by a Piñata, a gaudily decorated papier maché container filled with candy and toys hung from a handy tree or ceiling rafter. One at a time, blindfolded children take turns trying to smash the Piñata open so they can all dive in, screaming with pleasure and scooping up as much loot as possible.
At midnight on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena), the birth of Christ is proclaimed with fire works, church bells and all manner of noisemakers. Then Mexican families get down to the business of a lavish Christmas feast includingdishes like tamales, chiles rellenos, menudo, roast pork or turkey in mole, served with hot fruit punch and other spirited beverages such as rompope. The evening ends with the opening of gifts, and perhaps even another Piñata and sparklers for the kids. Christmas Day is celebrated as a day of well-deserved rest!
I invite you to celebrate your holidays with a traditional Mexican Feast. Here is a recipe for Rompope, Mexican rum eggnog:
Bring 3 c. milk and 1-1/2 c. sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat about ½ hour until reduced to about 2-1/2 cups. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a small bowl, beat 6 egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Beat into the cooled milk mixture and return to medium heat, stirring constantly until ALMOST to the boiling point. IMMEDIATELY remove from the heat (don’t allow it to boil) and stir in 1 t. real vanilla extract. Beat in 6 oz. good quality golden rum and chill in a covered glass container until ready to serve in small glasses. Makes about 3 cups, and of course you can double the recipe!
¡Buen provecho y Feliz Navidad a todos!