Brazilian Lime Torte

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                                                “Torta de Limão”

Lime Torte is a very popular Sunday dessert.  Usually, on Sundays, families get together and share a special meal with scrumptious desserts and tortes just like this one.  Cold, creamy, delicious. The original lime torte is made with a top of merengue, but I confess, I am terrible at making merengue, so I like to make this recipe with a topping of chantilly cream and a touch of limoncello instead. Limoncello is an optional ingredient,  but I think it really adds to the recipe.  The original crust is made with corn starch cookies “biscoitos de maizena”, but they are very difficult to find, so in this version, I use honey and oats crunch bars. They work beautifully in this recipe. This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. A day before is good because the torte is left to chill more and the flavor concentrates better. You don’t want to eat this warm.

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Ingredients:

  •  4 Honey and oats crunch bars
  •  4 tablespoons of butter
  •  2 cans condensed milk
  •  10 limes
  •  1 egg
  •  2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  •  3 ounces of limoncello

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 250F.  Crumble the honey and oats bars in a food processor,then transfer to a bowl. Melt the butter and mix it into the crumbs using a fork. Press this mixture in a rectangular dish and bake it for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2.  While the crust is baking, in the food processor, mix the condensed milk, juice of 8 limes and the egg; beat well. Spread the mixture on top of the crust and bake at 250F for 30 minutes.
  3.  While the torte is baking, whip the cream in the food processor until fluffy, transfer to a bowl and slowly add powdered sugar, folding in with the help of a fork. Then, slowly add the limoncello also folding the cream with a fork to preserve the air bubbles. Cover bowl and keep it in the refrigerator.
  4.  Once torte is baked, let it cool . Cover and place it in the redrigerator for at least 4 hours. Spread the chantilly cream over the top and decorate it with thin slices of 2 limes ( wash limes before you slice). Place it back in the refrigerator for another 2 hours or overnight.

Enjoy!

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Brazilian Shrimp Curry

Curry is not a typical Brazilian spice and it’s not commonly used; however, shrimp cooked in coconut sauce and seasoned with curry is very popular in the Brazilian kitchen. Brazilian shrimp curry is a fusion of Asian and Brazilian flavors and cooking styles. Some Brazilian shrimp curry recipes actually have no curry. They will use a blend of cumin, turmeric and coriander. I have a bag of a wonderful curry my youngest son brought me as a gift from his travels to Asia and I have been using this wonderful gift in my cooking whenever it’s called for. For this recipe, I used wild caught Argentinian shrimp, which has a mild and sweet flavor. It is my favorite. Brazilian curry can be served as a soup, but it is commonly served over white rice and a side of sautéed spinach on butter.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. raw shrimp
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 5 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups butternut cut into small cubes
  • 1 large potato cut into small cubes
  • 2 large carrots thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
  • 1 finely chopped piri piri pepper with the seeds removed. (piri piri is above average in heat and kind of hard to find, so you can use a chilli pepper)
  • 1 cup frozen petit peas
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. curry
  • bunch fresh basil chopped or sautéed spinach
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook shrimp in boiling water for 5 minutes until nice and pink. Drain. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, remove shell and devein. Then, squeeze lime juice, sprinkle salt/pepper and drizzle olive oil. Mix it all together for even flavor. Set aside.
  2. Put the sauté shallots, garlic, and tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil, in a big pot. When the tomatoes start to burst add carrots, butternut, potatoes and peppers. Stir to coat all vegetables and add vegetable broth. Cover and let it cook until carrots, butternut and potato are softer.
  3. Add tomato paste and ketchup. Stir. Then, add coconut milk, curry and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, letting it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring ocasionaly until the sauce has thickened a little. This happens when the cooked potato and butternut release their starch.
  4. Wash ice off the peas and add them to the curry.
  5. Add shrimp and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish the shrimp with basil or add sauteed spinach on butter. Why not add both?

Bon Appetit!

Brazilian Coconut Cake with Creamy Coconut Caramel Sauce

 

Bolo de Côco com Bába de Môça.

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Brazilians love coconut! Well, most of them. There are so many recipes from sweet to savory that uses coconut; I can safely say, coconut is definitely a signature Brazilian ingredient. The recipes for coconut cakes are endless and it is my pleasure to share all the ones I love to make for my family and friends.

If you are following this blog, you will notice that there are other recipes, in which I used the same coconut caramel sauce. It is a very popular sauce to use on desserts and cakes in Brazil. In Portuguese, it is called, “Bába de Môça”. It is sooo good!

This recipe can easily be made vegan. Vegan alternatives will be posted side by side with original ingredients.

Ingredients to make the Cake

  • 2 cups of flour ( I like to use 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of coconut flour)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of coconut flakes
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 table spoon baking powder
  • 4 table spoons of softened butter or 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 eggs ( use vegan egg substitute if making this cake vegan)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk ( from the dairy section)
  • 1/2 tea spoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for Coconut Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can light coconut milk.

Directions

  1. Pre heat oven to 350F and lightly grease a cake pan ( I like to use a bundt pan).
  2. Mix butter or oil with sugar in a food processor, beat it until creamy and smooth. Add coconut flakes and pulse a few times. Add eggs and beat it again until well mixed. Add vanilla and coconut milk and beat it again.
  3. Then, add flour and salt, and mix well. Finally, add baking powder and pulse a couple times.
  4. Pour dough mixture in the cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the fork comes out clean. Let it rest.

Let’s make the sauce

  1. Heat sugar in a sauce pan, stirring constantly to caramelize the sugar. Once sugar is melted, turn heat to low and slowly add the coconut milk. The sugar will sizzle, so stay back for a few seconds to prevent getting burned. The sugar will harden a little, forming gooey caramel pieces, so it is important to keep stirring constantly for them to melt back to the sauce. Turn heat to high to help hard pieces of caramel melt faster. Once all melted, pour sauce in to a glass container. If there are still gooey pieces in sauce, heat it in microwave for 15 seconds.
  2. Turn cake over on to a serving platter and drizzle coconut caramel sauce over it. Save about half the amount of caramel sauce to drizzle over individual pieces.
  3. If the caramel hardens, just put it back in microwave for 10 seconds.

This cake is also delicious with a scoop of coconut or vanilla ice cream on top and a drizzle of coconut caramel sauce over it.

Note: English is not my first language, I apologize for any incorrections or mispellings. Please feel free to contact me in my inbox with any corrections. I just ask to be kind! Thank you


Banana Cake with Caramel Swirl

Bolo de Banana com calda de Caramelo

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Bananas are a very common fruit in the Brazilian house hold and there are several types of bananas everywhere. They are inexpensive and widely available, which means lots of different recipes for banana cake. Banana cake with caramel sauce is one of my favorites because it’s easy to make with only two bananas and it’s very flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For Caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup hot water

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease a round cake pan with a hole in the middle.
  2. Add all ingredients for the cake (except for the baking powder) to a bowl and mix well until smooth,preferably an electrical mixer. Add baking powder. Gently mix.
  3. Transfer to the baking pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is ready when fork comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is baking, melt sugar in a sauce pan, stirring constantly until it is golden brown. Turn heat to low and add 1/2 cup of hot water. Keep stirring to prevent the sugar from hardening. If needed, add the rest of the hot water and keep stirring until a caramel sauce is formed. Transfer the sauce to a glass cup and let it rest until the cake is finished and cooled. Once the cake is cooled, transfer it to a serving platter and drizzle with the caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

 

Baked Eggplant Bolognese

“Beringela assada ao molho Bolognese”

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Eggplant with Bolognese sauce is not typical Brazilian food but became part of everyday Brazilian diet. Italian Immigration to Brazil started in the 16th century but it was in the 19th Century that large numbers of immigrants, facing the industrial revolution in Europe, went to Brazil. Brazilian government and land owners offered land to farm as they were facing the suppression of the slavery system.

According to Brazilian government today, there are 31 million Brazilians of Italian descent. Brazilians of Italian descent have duo nationalities.  Italian identity and culture shaped much of the Brazilian culture after the Portuguese colonization.

This recipe celebrates the fusion of three nations. A popular Brazilian dish influenced by Italian cuisine and once again adapted to ingredients easy to find in the USA.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • fresh mozzarella
  •  shredded asiago cheese
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup rose wine
  • fennel seeds
  • dried basil
  • fresh basil
  • 1 can 20 oz.  San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cut eggplant lengthwise in thin slices and let it soak in water for 15 min, it helps cut the bitterness of the eggplant. Cut red pepper in large strips and set aside.
  3. Chop celery, half onion, 3 garlic cloves and fresh basil.
  4. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, the can of tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic  and stir until tomatoes start bubbling. Add salt and pepper and smooth it with an immersion blender. Add fennel seeds, dry basil,  fresh basil ( leave some for garnish), a drizzle of agave nectar and let the flavors incorporate at low heat. Cover and leave at low heat while preparing the meat.
  5. Chop shallots and the rest of garlic.
  6. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, ground turkey, shallots and garlic. Cover and let cook; stirring occasionally until meat is browned and water and liquids dried. Add wine, salt, pepper. more fennel seeds. Cover and let cook over medium heat until meat is completely cooked. Add meat to tomato sauce. Remove from heat.
  7. Drain the eggplant water.
  8. Drizzle olive oil all over a rectangular baking dish, approximately 13×9.
  9. Arrange the dish by making a layer of eggplant. Put enough Bolognese sauce over, then a layer of red peppers (it should take all the red peppers). Then put some more Bolognese sauce over the peppers and another layer of eggplant (should use the rest of the eggplant). Cover with the rest of the Bolognese sauce.
  10. Add slices of fresh mozzarella until completely covered. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried basil. Top with shredded asiago cheese.
  11. Bake for 30 min.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Bom apetite!

Caramel and Chocolate Torte

 

 

                     ( Torta  de Doce de Leite e Chocolate)

It’s oozing with goodness!

This is a very rich dessert. It is cold, smooth, and silky. Absolutely divine! It is very easy to make but requires a few steps. I recommend to start a day before serving.

Originally, this dessert was made with “Biscoito Maria”, a type of corn starch, and sugar  cookies or “Biscoito Champagne” ( lady finger cookies), but both can be difficult to find,  so I substituted them for chocolate graham crackers, which are widely available at all grocery stores.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 box chocolate Graham Crackers
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Directions:

  1. To  make milk caramel, place condensed milk inside a digital pressure cooker, cover the can with water, and close the top. Set it for canning and let it cook until the pressure is completely out. If using a regular pressure cooker, let pressure build at high heat. Once the pressure builds, turn heat to low and let it cook for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it cook until the pressure is completely out. If you do not have a pressure cooker, fill a pot with water and let the can cook for 30 minutes. Keep hot water handy in case you need to add hot water. Do not let the water dry out because the can will explode; stay close to the pot. In all the cases, make sure there is enough water to cover the can. Once cooked, remove the can from the hot water and let it cool.
  2. While the can is cooking, pre-heat the oven to 350F. Place one and a half packets of chocolate crackers in a food processor to make crumbles. Place the crumbles in a bowl and add melted butter; mix them with a fork. Press this mixture inside a removable tart ring with the help of a spoon and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream and set it in the refrigerator.
  4. Melt chocolate in a water bath. Once melted, add half and half and stir until a silky chocolate cream is formed. Set aside.
  5. Remove cream from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Place one half back in fridge and add the sugar to the other half by folding it gently with a fork to preserve the air pockets. Add melted chocolate to the cream and gently  mix to preserve air pockets. Place it in fridge.
  6. When the can of condensed milk is cooled, open and fold the milk caramel with the other whipped cream and sugar that was resting in fridge. Whisk gently until a creamy silky mixture is formed. Place this mixture back in the fridge.
  7. Both the chocolate cream and the milk caramel cream should be left in fridge for at least 2 hours to firm.
  8. Once both creams are firm, spread the milk caramel over the crust of chocolate crackers. Break the rest of the chocolate crackers into small pieces and cover the caramel mixture with the broken pieces. Then, spread the chocolate cream on top.
  9. Place the tart mold on a plate, and cover it with another plate. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  10.  Before serving, remove the torte from the freezer and let it stand for 5 minutes. Turn the plates over to remove the tart ring and …voila! It is ready! Wait another 5 minutes before cutting.

*Store in refrigerator. The freezer was only to help remove dessert from tart ring.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Biscoitos Veganos  de Chocolate

Chocolate chip cookies are not a Brazilian original  but as a Brazilian living in the United States for so long I learned to love and to make them for my family. This is also not a  traditional chocolate chip recipe, it is a vegan adaptation as we are moving more towards vegetarian and vegan foods. I have not seen chocolate chips that are 100% chocolate, it is usually milk chocolate, so I use 100% chocolate bar ( no milk) and cut into chunks. It is absolutely delicious! You will be hooked!

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter

2 cups almond flour

1 table-spoon “neategg” vegan egg substitute

1/4 cup almond milk ( or any non dairy)

4 OZ unsweetened dark chocolate 100% cocoa

powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Using a food processor, beat the dates and peanut butter until all mixed and smooth
  3. Add almond flour and process.
  4. Dissolve “neategg” on non dairy milk and add to food processor. A ball of dough should be formed now but if still dry and crumbly add another spoon of non dairy milk.
  5. Place dough in a bowl, break chocolate into very small chunks and mix with your hands making sure dough incorporates all the chocolate chunks.
  6. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper, roll dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 min.
  7. place cookies on a rack or a plate and sprinkle powdered sugar.

Enjoy!