A year ago, I travelled abroad from my home in Canada, to Mexico City, my birthplace. This year, due to the pandemic, we are all confined inside our homes, and this Easter Sunday, there will be no soirées, our gregarious nature oppressed by lockdowns. Even though we will have to observe social distancing today and for a while, still without light at the end of the tunnel, one positive effect has been lower pollution levels. Empty streets, shutdown factories and restricted travelling have shown the truth about the direct correlation between fuel emissions and air pollution levels, leaving climate change deniers looking like liars. My Easter post from last year seems very timely, even more so than last year, since it talks about the same effect on pollution levels in Mexico City, observed since many decades ago during this season, and includes a recipe for a dessert with cajeta, the topic of my previous post.
Have a Safe and Happy Easter!
Easter – A Sweet Memory (with recipe) (Originally posted on April 18, 2019):
In Mexico, Holy Week and Easter time bring about two opposing sets of mind: on the one hand, it is the most important and solemn season for many, with Roman Catholicism being the predominant religion in the country; on the other, it is the peak season for family vacations, since schools, public services and many businesses cease activities for the whole week (sometimes two weeks, as part of their spring break). Since my father worked for a private company, he only got Good Friday off, and for our family, this time meant a quiet “staycation”. I really did not mind, because Mexico City would be half empty, and the highlight was to roam around without heavy traffic, which also caused lower levels of pollution; I remember strolling along beautiful Paseo de la Reforma, enjoying the sunshine, and the monuments and buildings contrasting the background of unusually blue skies.
During my recent visit to Mexico City, two of my dear friends from high school and me took a two-deck tour bus along Paseo de la Reforma:
The photo above does show polluted air in the background, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the iconic Independence monument (“El Angel”) against a bright blue sky, and many people on bicycles, jogging or exercising:
It is all part of an initiative to get people active, a compromise between the inevitable flow of cars and the need for a little break from the stresses of the city life. Every Sunday, sections of the avenue are closed to motorized traffic, and there are police and health services to assist. In addition, instructors and vendors provide free fitness sessions and health product samples. The tour bus allows riders to “hop on and off” at several points; we made two stops, which I will describe in more detail in future posts but, for now, these are some other views along Paseo de la Reforma, reminiscent of my “staycation” sights during Easter time:
Easter Sunday is upon us, and we usually spend the long weekend with my in-laws in Toronto, so I am prone to forget posting Easter menus. I will, however, at least share a recipe for a delightful dessert (pictured at the top of the post), inspired by the many Mexican treats made with cajeta, a sweet goat’s milk reduction:
Jello (or jelly), known in Spanish as gelatina, is a very popular dessert and snack in Mexico; gelatinas may be found as regular items in many restaurants (milk-based jello at restaurant “Los Arcos” in Mexico City, photo below, left), and packed and ready to go at supermarkets (a wide selection at “Ley Express” in Culiacan, photo below, right):
For my recipe, if cajeta is not available, dulce de leche may be used instead. UPDATE April 12, 2020: As mentioned in my previous post, cajeta has a deeper and richer flavour than dulce de leche; click here for my recipe for homemade cajeta.
Cajeta Jello and Apple Bunny –
Gelatina de cajeta y conejito de manzana
Ingredients (four portions)
7 g unflavoured gelatine (1 envelope)
¼ cup water at room temperature
¼ cup water, freshly boiled
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup cajeta
Prepare individual moulds or ramekins by lightly coating with vegetable oil; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatine over water at room temperature (photo below, left); after allowing to rest for one minute, add boiling water (photo below, right):
Mix thoroughly until gelatine is dissolved, and set aside. In a pan, warm up milk without reaching boiling point, then incorporate cajeta (photo below, left); stir until uniform, then add reserved gelatine solution (photo below, right):
Remove from heat and continue stirring until the gelatine is completely dissolved. Pour into prepared moulds:
Allow to set in the fridge for at least three hours. Meanwhile, wash apple and cut into quarters (below, left); remove core and remove a sliver to make a flat surface (centre); flip section and carve bunny ears by lifting the peel with a sharp knife (see photo, right):
Once the jello is set, place moulds in a bowl with lukewarm water to loosen the jello from the walls and bottom of the moulds. Serve individual portions with an apple bunny:
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!
I am bringing my recipe to Over the Moon #220, graciously hosted by Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, and Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats. Special thanks to Bev for featuring my Homemade Buns: Bolillos and Teleras at this party.