It is not difficult to become hooked on pinole. It is not a food for those fearful of carbohydrates, but thankfully, I have never been one of those people. If its food group can be forgiven, it is an energy dense food used for centuries by in the American continent not just for survival in times of food scarcity, but also for pleasure.

Now to clarify on some internet mis-information: pinole and corn meal are not interchangeable. Unless using a rustic stone ground polenta which includes the germ and the hull of the corn kernels, which is then lightly toasted, ground and sweetened into pinole, you will drink a cup of runny grits, not atole de pinole. Steel rolled corn meal is missing the germ and hull, which provide most of the vital nutrients of pinole.

If truly interested in enjoying the full benefits of pinole, take advantage of the many ready made versions available (from Rancho Gordo, Native Seed Search, MexGrocer, etc). Or take the time to make it from toasted (popped or not) whole corn kernels.

My own preference is for atole de pinole made with cow or goat milk, but water is the more traditional (and pre-Columbian) base. This atole is wonderful with the addition of a shot or two of espresso. Just don’t call it a latte.

Atole de Pinole con Vainilla

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pinole
  • 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Cocoa powder for dusting

Whisk the pinole into 1/2 cup of milk until completely dissolved. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pinole and milk mixture. Continue to simmer until the beverage has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Check for sweetness. For a caffeinated version, add a shot or two of strong espresso. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.


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