Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Golden Cupcakes (Quindims)

Guest blogging for Hippocrene Cooks this week is Cherie Hamilton, Hippocrene's globe-trotting specialist on the food cultures and cuisines of Portuguese-speaking countries around the world. Cherie's much-praised cookbook, Cuisines of Portuguese Encounters, was recently reprinted in an expanded edition (with over 70 new recipes) and truly crosses borders as it examines the distinct cuisines Portuguese explorers, colonists and missionaries left behind them as they crossed the world's oceans.

Cherie's first recipe this week comes from Brazil:

This recipe from Brazil is one that I usually recommend for an easy dessert because it has only five ingredients. Legend has it that Portuguese nuns, who were well-known for their tasty egg custards, brought this recipe with them to Brazil. Coconut, which is not native to Portugal, was added later by African slaves. Quindim is a very sweet dessert that was popular during slavery times in the masters’ houses of the sugar plantations in the north of Brazil. These dessert cakes were served at family dinners and elaborate parties. Baked in small individual pastry tins, or muffin tins, they are then inverted and served in little silver paper cups for a festive touch. As the quindim cooks, the coconut rises to the top and forms a light brown crust. When inverted, the coconut is on the bottom and the yolks form a golden dome on top. This recipe can be doubled and baked in an angel food cake mold or a Bundt pan. It is then called a quindão, which means “big cake.”

Quindims should be prepared the day before serving to allow them to chill overnight (or for at least 4 hours).

Makes one dozen.

1 cup extra-fine sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine, softened
9 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 cup freshly grated coconut (or fresh unsweetened coconut)
Melted butter or margarine for tins
Sugar for dusting tins

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Beat the mixture until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and the whole egg, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the coconut and mix well without beating.

Brush 12 muffin tins, or 24 mini muffin tins, with the melted butter and dust with the sugar. Fill the tins almost to the top with the custard. Place the muffin tin in a baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan to a depth of 1 inch making a bain-marie. Bake the quindims for about 35 minutes, or until they are firm and slightly golden.

Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Remove the cakes from the tins and place the coconut side down in silver paper cups or on a serving dish and chill overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Photos courtesy of Tom Wallace.

Questions? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe and it was delicious! It was easy to make and turned out to be a crowd favorite. Will definitely make again!