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A letter to Santa Claus…

bolo pudim

Someone wrote me asking for this recipe to praise her mother in Christmas…

Flan Cake

For a 14 cms flan pan:

125 g sugar
30 ml water

3 eggs
150 g sugar
120 ml cream
140 ml milk
Cinnammon stick, lemon zest or vanilla

3 egg whites
47 g butter, softened
47 g self-raising flour
94 g sugar

On a heavy bottomed pan combine the water and the sugar.
Bring to boil until sugar caramelizes.
Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the flan pan, making sure to coat all the interior.
Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.

Bring to boil the milk and cream with the cinnammon stick, lemon zest or vanilla.
Let it boil for a few minutes and sieve.
Beat the eggs with the sugar.
Pour the milk and cream into the egg mixture.
Beat until smooth.
Pour this mixture into the pan.

Whisk the egg whites until firm.
Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
Fold in the sifted flour and the egg whites alternatively.
Gently pour the batter over the flan mixture making sure the surface is even.

Bake for 50-60 minutes on a double-boiler.

I didn’t cover the pan. When the cake started forming a crust, I’ve convered with aluminum foil.
Unmold at room temperature!

Nuts for all…

bolo de noz

Some nostalgic voices are claiming for the walnut cake that was part of so many family reunions. The walnut cake that after being present for many Christmas had been forgotten on a old piece of paper with my grandmother’s dim caligraphy. The same walnut cake that today appears again for a revival.

Walnut cake with egg custard

Serves 6-8:

Egg custard:

8 egg yolks
8 tbsp sugar
8 tbsp water

Combine all the ingredients until smooth.
Bring to low heat and stir until thick.
Remove from heat and keep stirring until room temperature.
Cover tightly with wrap film and refrigerate.

Walnut cake

250g sugar
250g walnuts, powdered
8 eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
Grease a 22 cms diameter pan and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form.
Whisk the yolks with the sugar until thick and white.
Gently fold in the powdered walnuts and combine with a rubber spatula.
Add the egg whites and combine gently.
Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and let it cool down on the pan.
Unmold and using a long serrated knife cut the cake horizontally in two layers.
Spread a thin layer of egg custard between the two cake layers and on top.
Decorate with walnuts.

Christmas lights

bolo ingles

A classic at a portuguese Christmas table…

bolo ingles

Christmas fruit cake

225 g butter, softened
200 g sugar
4 eggs
300 g wheat flour
8 g baking powder
150 ml rum
120 g raisins
350 g candied fruits

Candied fruits to decorate
Quince jelly

Macerate the raisins in rum overnight.
Drain the raisins and reserve the remaining rum.
Pre-heat the oven to 250ºC.
Grease and flour a plum cake pan.
Chop the candied fruits.
Mix the butter and sugar until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, combining well.
Fold in the sifted flour with the baking powder and combine just until smooth.
Add the raisins combining gently with the help of a rubber spatula.
Add the candied fruits following the same procedure.
Pour the batter into the pan.
Place the pan into the oven and reduce temperatur to 180ºC.
As soon as a crust forms on top, make a lenghtwise cut.
Bake for 1 hour.
Remove from heat and let it cool down 10 minutes before unmolding.
Pour the rum on top of the cake and brush with the jelly.
Decorate with the candied fruits.
Let the cake cool down completely.
Preferably prepare the cake 4 days in advance.
Refrigerate covered with wrap film.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.

Why to macerate the raisins?

Macerate the rainsins makes them softer and tender and helps to balance the liquid quantities of the recipe as they can absorb part of the batter moisture. Rum also gives a special flavor to the batter.

There’s Christmas also for “bad kids”…

carbon dulce

When I was a little girl the weeks before Christmas were full of anxiousness and deep thoughts.
Fearing that my “little tricks” could deprive me from the so much desired presents, I acted as if Santa Claus was behind me all the time and I judged myself to make sure that nothing could keep the big red bag away from me.
That’s why this year I’ve decided to open the Christmas season with a present for the “tricky kids”…

Here Christmas is for everybody…

Carbón dulce (sweet coal) is a spanish typical Christmas present.
Tradition says that the kids with “bad behaviour” should get carbon instead of presents.
Anyway carbon is sweet to make sure kids know that they’re good and could improve their behaviour.

In past times carbon was darkened with smoke but now it’s forbidden for health reasons and food coloring is used for the same effect.

Carbón dulce

70 g egg white icing
Black food coloring
700 g sugar
230 g water

Egg white icing:
1 egg white (35 g)
5 drops of lemon juice
200 g icing sugar

Black food coloring.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients until smooth and thick.
A good test is when a knife blade drawn through the icing leave a clean cut.
Add more sugar if necessary.
Add the food coloring.

Prepare a rectangular pan lined with greased parchment paper.
Combine water and sugar in a deep saucepan until 1/3 of the height.
Bring to boil until 126ºC.
Remove from heat and add the egg white icing.
Stir in circles until foam forms.
Keep stirring until foam surfaces again.
Pour the mixture into the lined pan.
Break the carbon in pieces.