#Recipe Brazilian bakes & candies

Think of Brazil and no doubt the usual plethora of images will spring to mind- sundrenched beaches, feather-bedecked soca dancers and copious churrascaria. What doesn’t come to mind is a wealth, and often unexplored world, of baking. From breads to cakes to sweet treats there’s no shortage of tasty culinary treats to try.

So you may be asking yourself how does a Irish native, now resident in Canada, come to be waxing lyrical on all bakes Brazilian? I recently made the acquaintance of a native Brazilian via the wonders of a social media. A mutual bond over adoption matters, cultural appreciation (makes a change to hear those two words together huh?) and adventures in food was formed, and here we are! Insight from someone who grew up in a culture always trumps even the best research you can do. There is something satisfying about knowing that this is how “it” actually is, in everyday life, rather than some interpretation of “it” from the vaults of some Lonely Planet-esque archives.

The recipes here are essentially in two parts- bakes and sweets. The Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheesebread) is definitely worth trying out. Served warm from the oven they are an ideal breakfast morsel, or even snack through the day. Freezer-friendly and gluten-free they are also a handy reserve should any gluten intolerant friends swing by. The Pudim de Queijo and Bolo de Fuba Cremoso share a common theme in that they are both prepared making use of a tall blender. Apparently this is a common feature in Brazilian baking as stand mixers are not that common. For the Pudim de Queijo think creme caramel and Catalan flan. To be honest though to hold it in comparison is to do the Pudim injustice. The addition of the cheese to the flan mixture rescues it from the overpowering (and somewhat cloying) sweetness to which it’s European counterparts often fall prey. Cheese also a feature in the recipe for Bolo de Fuba Cremoso. When baked the combination of cheese, cornmeal and coconut result in veritable kitchen alchemy that allows for a crispy topping, smooth interlayer and deliciously crumbly base. Believe me, once you try a slice of this alongside a strong coffee, breakfast will never be the same again!

The Dochinos de Leite Moca here are all variations on a theme of Brazilian candies. Made using boiled sweetened condensed milk they are sure to prove popular not only with the little ones in your life but all the grown-ups. The final sweets will usually keep for a week in a container in the refrigerator. These dainty mouthfuls of scrumptuous sweetness look  (and taste) like they required hours of kitchen toil instead of the mere minutes needed in reality. The longest part is the cooling time! I cannot emphasis how much these candies are worth the minimal effort.

Many thanks to Bernardo (and his Mum!) for the guidance, patience when it came to answering my numerous questions, and encouragement when things literally went belly up! Muito obrigado meu amigo.


Pao de Queijo (8)

Pao de queijo

Makes approximately 40

Ingredients

  • 500g cassava starch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 400g grated cheese (150g Gruyère; 150g mozzarella; 100g sharp red cheddar such as Red Leicester)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 2 cookie baking trays with baking parchment
  2. In a bowl mix the Gruyère and mozzarella cheeses, Set aside until needed
  3. Combine the water & oil in a pan and bring to boil over heat
  4. Place cassava starch in a bowl of a stand mixer
  5. With the mixer running, carefully pour over boiling liquid in stages and mix to combine
  6. Leave to cool, until you can touch the side of the bowl
  7. With the mixer running, add in eggs one at a time
  8. Add in the Gruyère/ mozzarella cheese mix in thirds and mix until combine.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold/lightly knead in the sharp cheddar.
  10. Roll dough into 3cm wide sausage shape
  11. Cut into smaller 1 inch pieces and roll into balls using wet hands
  12. Place the dough balls on lined baking trays, spacing about 2 inches between
  13. Bake at 400F for 20mins until puffed and lightly golden

– The baked rolls/ puffs are best eaten straight away, after cooling slightly.

*Once the dough had been shaped into balls, they can be frozen in a bag or under cling wrap and baked from frozen. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 30 mins until puffed and lightly golden

Pao de Queijo (1)


Pudim de Queijo (3)

Pudim de queijo

Makes 1, serves 12

Ingredients

Caramel

  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Pudding

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can whole  milk (use the same can as sweetened condensed milk to measure)
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a pan over a medium heat combine the water and fine sugar.
  3. Increase heat and bring to the boil, without stirring, for about 10mins. The liquid should thicken and turn a deep amber color
  4. When the liquid has turned deep amber, remove from heat and pour into an 8inch circular baking pan
  5. In a blender mix the condescended milk and milk for 2 mins
  6. Add in eggs and mix to blend again for 2 mins
  7. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix for a further 2 mins
  8. Pour into prepared caramel pan and place the filled baking pan in deep roasting tray large enough to take the pan
  9. Cover the filled pan with aluminium foil, and fill the roasting tray with water to at least 3/4 level with the pan
  10. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 50 mins
  11. After the aluminium foil from the pan and continue to bake for a further 10 mins
  12. Remove the baked pudding from the oven and the roasting tray. Leave to completely
  13. Turn the cooked pudding out by placing a large plate on top of the pudding and quickly inverting. It may requirement a gentle shake for it to come out
  14. Keep the turned out pudding refrigerated until serving

Pudim de Queijo (6)


Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (3)

Bolo de fubá cremoso

Makes 1 , serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups fine sugar
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a large bowl add the fine sugar, cornmeal, flour, shredded coconut and mix to combine
  3. In a large blender combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and baking powder, Parmesan cheese and mix until well combined
  4. Pour the liquid mixture in to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir/whisk gently to combine well
  5. Pour to cake batter (which will be quite running into a 9inch spring-form cake pan
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the top of the cake is golden brown and the sides pull away from the pan
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing the pan collar
  8. This cake goes particularly well with a strong, early morning coffee

Bolo de Fuma Cremoso (1)


Dochinos (2)

Dochinos de Leite Moca

Each recipe makes between 15-20

This little sweet bites were traditionally served at children’s parties, are astoundingly easy to make and even better to eat!

Brigadeiro

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk

To finish

  • A selection of chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles to finish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in sprinkles of your choice to coat and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the brigadeiro have been rolled transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Beijinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1egg yolk

To finish

  • 100g unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Whole cloves (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the milk and egg yolk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a round ball shape in your hands
  4. Roll the ball of mixture in the shredded coconut to coat and place on a lined baking sheet. Stud each beijinho with a whole clove
  5. When all the beijinho have been rolled, transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

 

Cajuzinho

Ingredients

  • 300ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 30g unsweetened shredded coconut

To finish

  • Fine sugar
  • Roasted peanut halves

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and loosens from the pan. (It will take between 8-10 mins)
  2. Pour the hot mixture into a heat-proof bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  3. When the mixture has cooled , grease your hands with oil and shape a teaspoon of the mixture into a “horn” shape in your hands
  4. Roll the cajuzinho in fine sugar  to coat, stud the larger end with a peanut half and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. When all the cajuzinho have been rolled,  transfer the baking sheet to the fridge and allow the to chill and firm for at least 2 hours

Dochinos (5)

 

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#Recipe Caramelised Walnut & Blue Cheese Soda bread

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Soda bread was one of the first things I remember watching my mother make/bake in the kitchen. From my seat on the kitchen drainer I would watch how she’d mix and shape the dough into the thick, dense cakes and I’d hanker for a warm slice, the melted butter dripping down my greedy knuckles. Beats crumpets any day! With the minimum of ingredients it was her “go to” recipe when cupboards were getting bare- maximum flavour from minimum input. So often  was it made in my childhood house that there was no need for her to weigh or measure quantities. It was an instinctual process, hands tracing what seemed like arcane patterns and motions, guided by numerous loaves that came before.

The lack of yeast in the mix makes it a particularly quick and easy loaf to knock together. No kneading is required and the mixing is minimal (to avoid an overly heavy dough). So it really is just a case of mix, shape and bake.

Whilst I have kept to the basic recipe as taught to me (flour, bread soda (bicarbonate of soda), buttermilk and salt, I have as usual added my Mr. Mom’s twist. The additional of the caramelised walnuts and blue cheese add wonderful pockets of sweetness and Unmami to the earthy wholemeal dough. I serve mine here with Guinness infused butter to make it just that little bit more indulgent for a St. Patrick’s Day treat.

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibhe!

 

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Ingredients

Caramelised walnuts

100g walnut halves
55g caster sugar
15g unsalted butter

Soda bread

450g wholemeal flour
175g plain flour
2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoons salt
450ml buttermilk (450ml  milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice stirred in)
100 g Cashel Blue cheese, plus extra for topping
Caramelised walnuts (see above)

Guinness Butter

1 quantity of homemade butter (See the recipe here)

150ml Guinness Stout (not draught)

4 teaspoons Irish heather honey (If you can’t find this, ordinary honey will be fine)

Pinch of salt

You’ll need 2 non-stick baking trays (or standard ones lined with baking parchment)

To make the caramelised walnuts

  • Set aside a non-stick baking tray. If you don’t have non-stick variety to hand, just line a standard tray with baking parchment.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a pan over a medium heat.
  • Stir to combine and to stop the mixture from catching.
  • Continue until the butter and sugar have melted. At this point you need to stir continuously until the syrup turns a deep shade of amber.
  • Immediately remove from the heat and tip the mixture onto the (lined) baking sheet. Using two forks separate the nuts individually so that they don’t clump together.
  • Allow the nuts to cool on the baking tray before use. (As a side note these make wonderfully tasty drinks snacks as they are like this. I often make a double batch!)

To make the soda bread

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  • In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (including the candied walnuts and cheese) and mix well.
  • Make a well in the center, and add in roughly 1/3 of the milk. Mix lightly.
  • Add in the second 1/3 of the milk and again mix until just combined.
  • Add in the final amount of milk and mix until a dough is formed and there is no dry flour remaining in the bowl.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead.
  • Form into a round about 1 1/2 inch thick transfer to your baking sheet.
  • Stud the top of the loaf with a few chunks of blue cheese (to taste) and dust with flour. Score the top of the loaf in half with a floured, sharp knife. Turn the loaf 90 degrees and score again so that you have a cross shape dividing the top of the loaf into quarters, then prick each of the four quarters**
  • Bake the loaf in your preheated oven for about 45mins. Test by tapping the bottom of the loaf- it should sound hallow. (If the top of the loaf starts to brown too quickly, loosely drap some foil over it). Once baked remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
  • Serve with Guinness Butter (see recipe below) or for a traditional Irish after-school treat slathered in butter and jam!

To make the Guinness Butter

  • Heat the Guinness in a pan over a high heat and reduce down to 1/3 volume. You should have a denser syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
  • Place the butter in a bowl of stand mixer, add in the cooled Guinness syrup, honey and salt.
  • Beat on medium until combined then increase the speed to high and “whip” for about 5-7 minutes until all the ingredients are fully combined and mixture is fluffy in texture.
  • Remove the butter from the mixing bowl, transfer to a dish and serve alongside the prepared soda bread.

**Although these two actions have a practical use in the making of this bread, the traditional meaning lends a much more romantic slant to them as only the Irish can. Cutting the loaf into quarters is said to be “Blessing the bread” so that it the house making it may never run out of it. Pricking each of the quarters is “to let the Sidhe (fairies) escape” in order to avoid any havoc they make reek if kept trapped in the bread. Quite how they got in there in the first place is beyond me by who am I to argue with centuries of tradition!

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