Saturday, 24 June 2017

A Brazil-themed evening with my ladies group

On Tuesday my ladies group (NWR) came round to my house for a Brazil-themed evening and to discuss various aspects of life in Brazil. I took the opportunity to bake some finger food and desserts that are popular with Brazilians. I had not made any of these before and did not taste them before my friends did, so it was all experimental. The first problem I had was on the recipe selection. Most snack or street food in Brazil is deep-fried, which I try to avoid. Several of the recipes I chose had ingredients I could not buy here so they had to be discarded. The majority of the rest included condensed milk and/or coconut. These were the recipes I made.

 Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)

 This is gluten free because it is made with tapioca flour. I could only find this flour in a health food store. The other ingredients are olive oil, water, milk or soy milk, salt minced garlic, parmesan cheese and 2 beaten eggs. It is made in a similar way to choux pastry as all the liquid ingredients are brought to the boil in a pan and then removed from the heat and the flour added immediately. When mixed with the liquid it looks like cottage cheese. The egg and cheese are added after the mixture has cooled for ten minutes. Golf-ball size portions are put on an ungreased baking tray and cooked for 15 minutes until slightly brown. The result was doughy and slightly greasy, but  very pleasing. (

White Pudding (Cuscuz Branco)

This is a traditional dessert. It is made from milk, coconut, condensed sweetened milk, pearl tapioca, (again from a health food shop) and granulated sugar. The dry ingredients are placed in a serving dish and the liquids brought to the boil and poured over them, then left to cool for several hours. It is then covered with coconut shreds and served cold. (Meal Planner Pro)

 Coconut Little Kiss (Beijinho de Coco)         Brazilian truffles (Brigadeiro)

These two recipes are very similar. They are both made by boiling up a can of condensesd milk with butter until firm and then moulding into balls. The white ones had coconut added and were decorated with a whole clove while the dark ones had cocoa added instead of the coconut and were decorated with vermicelli (sugar strands). Both were quite squashy and very sweet. Too many saturates for my liking. (

Rice Pudding Cake with Rum and Raisin Apples 

Most countries have a varient of this cake, but this is the way they make it in Brazil. It is made from whole milk, double cream, vanilla, lemon zest, light brown sugar, salt, butter and risotto rice. All the ingredients except the eggs are boiled in a saucepan and simmered whilst stirring for 15 minutes until thickened. Then allowed to cool slightly. In the meantime a sandwich tin is greased and spread with dulce de leche (caramel sauce). The cooled rice is spread on top and baked for 25 minutes until just set.

To accompany the cooled cake a few apples are peeled and sliced, tossed in cinnamon sugar and fried in hot butter. Once brown, the rum and raisins are added. This makes a nice fruity toffee sauce to serve with the slices of cake. (Food Network UK)

Passion Fruit Mousse (Mousse de Maracuja)

This was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. Double cream, sweetened condensed milk and passion fruit pulp. Mixed together in a blender and poured into glasses or ramekins. The hardest thing about making this recipe was getting the passion fruit juice. I looked everywhere for it and the only thing I found was a passion fruit coulis in M&S. To this I added the pulp of 3 passion fruit. I think the big black pips are unsightly so I sieved the mixture before putting it in the glasses. The recipe called for it to be topped with a raspberry but I thought that detracted from the flavour of the passion fruit. The mousse was slightly acidy, but not too sweet and very flavoursome. This was a big hit with my ladies and I shall make this again.

My overall conclusion about Brazilian food is that it is quick and easy to make, but the desserts are very sweet and laden with fat. However it was enjoyable trying out these dishes and the evening was a big success.

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