There are many variations of antes, using different dry pieces of bread or cakes layered with seasonal fruits and pastry cream. This version was shared by my friend Luz Elena, the mother of my son Kaelin’s classmate Pedro, during mango season. Although it seemed too easy to be true, it’s delicious. You can use any fruit you have on hand and any type of dry, airy bread or cake. You should make this dessert at least a day or two in advance for all the flavors and textures to combine. It’s great after a big dinner because it’s so light and fruity.
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 2/3 cup sweet sherry
- 7 cups pan de yema (sold in Mexican bakeries), or challah, or other egg bread, fresh or a few days old; or dry anise sponge cookies, biscotti, or ladyfingers
- 3 large ripe mangoes, peeled and pitted, cubed (5½ to 7 cups)
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure Mexican vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped until stiff
In a small saucepan, plump the raisins in the sherry for 15 minutes over low heat, covered. If you are using fresh bread, dry the bread in the oven for 10 minutes. (If using dry bread, anise sponge cookies, biscotti, or ladyfingers, omit this step.)
Place half of the mango and all the evaporated milk in a blender. Puree until smooth. Empty this mixture into a bowl and repeat with the remaining mango, condensed milk, and vanilla. Add to the first mixture and mix well. Fold in the whipped cream one third at a time.
Strain the raisins and reserve the sherry and raisins. In a clear serving bowl with straight sides, make a layer of half the bread cubes. Sprinkle half of the reserved sherry over the bread, followed by half of the raisins. Add half of the mango mixture. Add another layer of bread, sherry, and use the raisins, saving about 5 raisins for the top. Add the remaining mango mixture and the raisins to decorate the top. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.