Como agua para chocolate is a beautiful film set in old world Mexico. The narration draws you into the film, like a friend telling you a really great story. The title alone says so much. The phrase is a common expression in some Spanish-speaking countries and was the inspiration for the novel by Laura Esquivel’s novel, it means that one is very angry. In some places, you would make hot chocolate with near-boiling water instead of warm milk. Another interpretation is would be to be in a state of passion, this definition fits the protaganist and the passionate love they share in the film.
At the start of the film, Tita is only fifteen years old and very much obedient to her mother. Tita yearns to be with Pedro but because of her mother’s family tradition of making the youngest daughter take care of her mother until the day she dies, prohibits marriage or romance in any sense. It is then that Tita discovers that her repressed emotions are transformed in her food and therefore felt by anyone who eats it.
The novel is worth the read too. It is one of the few films where I have read the book after seeing the movie. Each chapter is named after the months of the year and each begins with a Mexican recipe tied to Tita’s life. The film does a wonderful job bringing this into the story, that I actually had a sense of what the dishes tasted like while watching it. Though, the book is far more mystical and magical than the film could truly portray. Still, I would recommend reading it after watching this as you will get much more from it. The fairytale aspect of this story is subtle yet carries with it Mexican culture, tradition, and drama of the Civil War. The evil mother, the religious aspect yet fantasy of the Virgin Mary, the unattainable prince; play their part in this tale of unrequited love.
My dish that I feel is perfecto for this film is Sexy Coulant de Chocolate. Inspired by the scene where Tita has unintentionally affected her family by her food, causing one particularly risque scene where her older sister becomes possessed by lust due to her decadent meal of quail in a rose petal sauce.
Known here as, Chocolate Lava Cake, this dessert is rich, velvety and easy to prepare. Sure, it can be ordered at various chain restaurants but a true ‘coulant’ is best made with love and at home. I have added blackberries to this dish as they compliment the chocolate in a surprising way. Of course, strawberries and bananas are also a good choice.
200g or 7oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
50g or 2oz Butter
5 Egg Whites
65g or 2 oz Sugar
3 Egg Yolks, Lightly Beaten
The prep time for this is only about ten minutes and cook time clocks in around 8-10 minutes. So it really is a dessert you can whip up in minutes! Start by preheating your oven to 180 Celcius or 350 F.
Pour the choclate into a bowl with the butter and microwave on medium heat for about 30 seconds at a time. Take out to stir and make sure it is melting evenly and not burning. Stir until smooth.
Pour your egg whites into a bowl with the sugar and whisk until you acheive soft peaks, this occurs after some intense mixing. You will start to see tiny foam bubbles appear and then they will get more frothy and thicker, this is what you want. You can use an electric mixer if you choose, but I used a whisk so I could control the froth more.
Add a bit of the egg white sugar mix to the choclate to slacken it. Stir more to fold it in and then slowly add the rest. Next, add the beaten egg yolks to the chocolate until everything is smooth and blended. Be sure to try and maintain the airiness of the mix.
I used ramekins for my recipe and I found that spraying them with Coconut spray made them slip out easily after they cooled. You can also use baking molds, paper or reusuable if you wish. Some people even prefer lining a baking sheet with paper and using pastry rings. For me, ramekins were the easiest and most efficient.
Bake the fondants for 10-13 minutes until the sides are firm and the centers are soft. Everyone’s oven varies a but so keep an eye on them if you aren’t sure. Another way to make sure your cakes are ‘molten’ inside is to freeze any chocolate of your choice and place it in the center of the cake before putting it in the oven. For this recipe, I used half a square of Ancho Chile Chocolate to give it a hint of spice. I normally take the chocolate out of the freezer a few minutes after I start the process of mixing ingredients, just so it thaws slightly.
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