07 March 2011

Tembleque & Puerto Rico Vacations

Tembleque is traditionally made from coconut milk, corn starch and coconut cream. With just a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. I can't even begin to count how many times I've tried to make Tembleque the traditional way. It gets its name because it means 'shaking'. It jiggles like jello after it sets and cools completely. But when I make it, always ends up with a pudding like texture. That's when I decided to cheat. 

I used gelatin to make it jiggle like it's supposed to. By adding less corn starch and introducing some gelatin to the mix, I was able to get the giggly consistency Tembleque is supposed to have. I still have to develop and perfect this recipe a little further, but for now, it's as delicious as it can be. 

My best friend and her husband came to Puerto Rico on vacations from Florida for a few days. We had a blast! 

We drove through the entire west and south west of the island on a 3 day weekend. Not that it takes that long to drive through Puerto Rico. You can literally drive from one side to the other in just under 3 hours.

They had been here before (my best friend grew up here), but we never went to the non-touristy areas. 

We enjoyed all of the best puertorrican dishes, homestyle. We only ate from 'side-of-the-road' places, experimenting with fried foods and sweets alike. But there was one of the most popular typical desserts that we didn't get the chance to try: Tembleque. 

*The ingredients below are for my version of Tembleque. 

12 ounces of Coconut Milk
10 ounces Water (or Coconut Water)
3 tsp unflavored Gelatin
1/3 cup Sugar (or Coconut Cream)
2 tbsp Corn Starch
Ground Cinnamon for sprinkling on top

-Mix all ingredients (except cinnamon) in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until it's hot.

-While the mixture is heating up, in a separate bowl mix the gelatin with 2 tbsp water and let it rest.

-When the mix is hot, remove from heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Then add the gelatin-water mix and stir very well. Make sure the gelatin is completely incorporated and no lumps are present.

-Pour it into the a serving bowl and refrigerate immediately. It should take about 5 hours for the Tembleque to set.

-Once set, sprinkle some Cinnamon on top.



Finally, here are some pictures taken during a two day trip through the island of Puerto Rico last weekend. Since I don't have a camera anymore, all pictures were taken with my iPhone. 

The picture on the left is a Piragua. The Puertorican version of shaved ice. They shave the ice from a big block of ice in a cart from a street vendor and pour flavored syrup on top. This one is Tamarind Flavor.

The picture on the right is from a beach in Manatí, P.R.
There used to be many cotton plantations in Puerto Rico many years ago. The only cotton plants left, are there almost by mistake. I found this plant on a road in Guayama, P.R.

A Puertorican sunset in Rincón. This is an unaltered pictured, colors just as nature intended it.

This is me on the left. Standing at the entrance of the passage way on the left and bottom pictures. 
Looks like a cave but it's a passage way through a mountain that takes you to the other side of the beach in Guajataca (Guayanilla, P.R.). It's an amazing experience just walking through it. You can hear the waves awaiting on the other side.

This is a picture of the same beach above, in Guajataca.

The picture on the left is a hidden beach we found off a road in Manatí. The other one is in Guayanilla. 


Vivienne said...

love what you were able to capture with your iphone...its like telling a story with those photos and what a relaxing weekend at the beach too..
i really like the picture of the sunset!!
at first i thought the cod was deep fried sweet potato coz of the colour haha!

Shabs said...

Hey there, we make something like this but with tender coconut , love your pics .

Anonymous said...

Hi, Yadi, thank you for visiting Puerto Rico my home-town. I also try to make tembleque but the same thing happens to me, it doesn't jiggle like is supposed to. Im going to try this recipe and will let you know how it came out, since X-Mas is here, this is our traditional dessert with a couple more. My son likes it, my daughter likes the rice pudding, and I like bread pudding. thank you again for your recipe. Nancy

Mara Lozano said...

found this on pinterest! do you have any more puertorican recipes? i've grown up with puerto rican food but sadly my pinterest boards are SEVERELY lacking :(

Anonymous said...

I remember as a kid, buying "coquitos" in New York City. A coconut based ice that was served from a cart by street vendors. It had the consistincy of an Italian Ice, but a bit creamier. Do you have that recipe? World's best cocnut flavored ice.

Anonymous said...

Thank you just did it we'll see how it comes out in few hours. I went to PR and loved coconut flan a..my fave. Finally found a recipe. :)))

Anonymous said...

Hi yadi, I made this recipe, but 4hours and not set yet.... I can't wait to try it. I miss having this. Its my favorite desert when I visited PR. Does it really take 5 hours to set?

Kim Tataru said...

Thanks for the pictures and the recipe. I also feel you said a lot with just a few pictures, especially the one with the cotton plant. We have a similar dessert I remember from my childhood called blancmange my mother would make it in a bunny shaped mould but it is made with cows milk. I do not drink cows milk now and love anything coconut so I am looking forward to making this.

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