It would be pretty easy for this little Australian family to allow Cinco de Mayo to become a day of sombreros and corn chip clichés but we think it’s a great excuse to have a little fun with the kids, Mexican style, while expanding our cultural horizons.
Cinco de Mayo is the day Mexicans remember the Battle of Puebla, a battle fought on May 5, 1862 against the French that no-one thought the Mexicans could win… except the Mexicans. Not only did the French Army way outnumber their Mexican counterparts, they were also far better armed and trained. But, as they tried again and again to make their way into the city of Puebla, the Mexicans forced them into retreat.
When the French finally ran out of ammunition, a Mexican commander ordered an attack, forcing the French to run away (quelle surprise… queue the usual digs). Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the war. The French army returned and captured Mexico City, but Cinco de Mayo is still celebrated as a day of success and national pride.
Though it is now a relatively minor holiday in Mexico itself, in countries with large ex-pat communities, particularly the United States, Cinco de Mayo has been embraced as a celebration of Mexican pride with parades, mariachi music, street parties and lots of lots of food. The Eats World clan love a good victory for the underdog story (and Mexican cuisine) so we’re keen for a piece of the action.
The only catch is that, given our distinct lack of Mexican heritage, we’re not quite sure how. The two most obvious options are finding a random Mexican or two and joining their party or hitting the local taquería to stuff our faces with some Mexican goodness. But we want to go beyond takeaway tacos and a bottle (or cinco) of Corona and though an afternoon of downing cervaza is incredibly tempting, it isn’t exactly conducive to productive parenting.
And so we decide to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, Eats World Style! That is, with a little fun and a lot of food. Raffles, upon hearing the words “Mexico” and “celebration” in the same sentence, immediately requests a piñata! Though we do all love to crack open a piñata, given Sugarpuff’s current penchant for bashing the crap out of anything from inanimate objects to siblings whenever a long blunt object finds its way into her possession, we figure actually handing her a piñata stick is akin to inviting Hannibal Lecter around for a little chianti and a bloody steak.
Instead, inspired by the amount of tag-team wrestling engaged in by Raffles and Sugarpuff (usually over who gets the remote), and a distinct lack of mariachi bands at our place, we decided to celebrate in safety and silence by colouring some Mascaras de la Lucha Libre!Mexican wrestling masks. As you do.
As for the Mexican munchies, as much as we love the savoury sensations from South of the Border we’ve got a big block of Mexican cooking chocolate on hand just begging to be used. It’s inspired us to keep our little fiesta sweet and simple with donuts and hot chocolate. And the verdict? “Ay, caramba” they’re good!
80 grams unsalted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tspn teaspoon salt
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.
- Whisk water, sugar, salt, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering and butter is completely melted.
- Remove from the heat and add all the flour stirring continuously until fully incorporated into liquid.
- Return the pot to heat and cook the mixture until the dough is smooth and sticky and comes away easily from the sides of the pan.
- Remove the pot from the burner and let it cool for about ten minutes before adding the eggs and mix until fully incorporated into mix (this will require a little elbow grease) and batter has a thick but smooth consistency.
- Cool batter for another five minutes and scoop into a piping bag with a large star nozzle.
- Pipe batter into strips on baking paper.
- Heat about 3 inches of oil in a pan or deep fryer to about 180-190 degrees celsius.
- Add the piped batter to the oil in batches (leaving plenty of room) and fry until they are golden brown all over (two-three minutes per batch).
- Remove from heat and drain onto paper-towel.
- Roll churros in cinnamon sugar and serve warm with Mexican hot chocolate.
Cinnamon & Chilli Mexican Hot Chocolate
1 ½ cups milk
3 wedges Mexican chocolate
1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
1 cinnamon quill
1 teaspoon cornflour
Pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients into a saucepan.
- Heat until almost boiling (stirring constantly so cornflour doesn’t make lumps) until chocolate melts and mixture thickens.
- Whisk briskly until a froth forms.
- Serve immediately with a cinnamon quill for stirring.