All posts filed under: Desserts and Cakes

Ricotta and Pear Jam Mousse with Almond Praline 

The previous week I got the nicest surprise from Quinta de Jugais in the mailbox. They had just sent a selection with four of their delicious jams made with fruit that comes directly from Serra da Estrela. When I opened that box I knew I had to try something with that pear and port wine jam, and I did so. A big thanks to them for this gift box. One of my favourite pairings in Italian pastry is pear and ricotta, so that was my inspiration for this go-to, no fuss ricotta and pear jam mousse. This is the perfect kind of dessert if you are hosting a party or dinner at your place and you want to impress with minimal effort. It might look like you have slaved for some time in the kitchen, but the truth is that it couldn’t get any easier. Plus, the following recipe makes the most out of the natural sweetness of the jam, sugar was only added in the form of almond praline topping. RICOTTA AND PEAR JAM MOUSSE WITH …

Easter in Algarve & the Folar Workshop at Casa Modesta

This year my Easter vacation and arrival in the Algarve started in the best way possible, with a Easter Folar workshop at Casa Modesta. Casa Modesta is a charming rural hotel that opened a year ago in Quatrim do Sul, near Olhão, just in front of a salty lagoon from beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park. The house is a family project founded by brothers Vânia Brito Fernandes e Carlos Fernandes that decided to transform their grandparents pre-existing house in a new chapter of family memories. The old house gave place to a pair of beautiful modern buildings, but the main Algarve architectural traits were maintained, like the white colours, the straight lines, the wood oven, and the typical roofs, that go by the name of açoteias, once used to dry figs, almonds and even fish. Carlos was the one to warmly welcome us to Casa Modesta that afternoon, as his family members were finishing the preparations for the baking afternoon.  In the meantime, he told us all about the story behind this family house and the project while giving us the tour …

Rabanadas – The Portuguese Christmas eggy bread

Rabanadas, they always had a special place in the typical Portuguese Christmas dessert table, along with other fried and eggy goodness. They are one of the main dishes that infuses Portuguese households with the sweet smell of sugar and cinnamon during this festive time of the year. Ingredients: Soft baguette, brioche or any type of soft bread ( In Portugal, around Christmas time, you can find a specific baguette for rabanadas in most supermarkets) 1/2 liter of milk 6 eggs 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste sugar cinnamon Preparation: First of all, it is important to mention that in this recipe you should be using stale bread. The staleness will help the bread to absorb all the milk and egg mixtures. Slice the baguette in 2 centimeter thick slices. You will need separate containers, one with the milk mixed with the vanilla paste, other for the beaten eggs and the final one with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. It is like an assembly line, first soak the slice of bread in the milk on both sides and then in …

Black Banana cake

I would like to share with you this great recipe from Nigel Slater, who I greatly admire, that I tried this last weekend. It turned out to be my kind of cake, maybe it is your kind of cake too. Love the fact that this recipe is using bananas that are passed that perfect point, suddenly this almost waist it is turned into amazing food. Doesn’t require much fuss, it’s almost only mixing ingredients. Just made some slight changes to the original recipe. Ingredients: 175g self-raising flour 175g butter 175g demerara sugar 50g hazelnuts 2 eggs 2 ripe bananas 100g chocolate chips or chocolate bar chopped in pieces (I chose dark chocolate) 1 teaspoon of cinnamon Preparation: Start the process by preheating the oven at 170ºC and toast the hazelnuts for about 10-15 minutes (only until they get lightly toasted). Beat well the butter (room temperature) and the sugar until you get a more or less even whitish paste. When the hazelnuts are already toasted you just need to take off the skins, you can do this …

Sweet potato and coconut cake

This is a typical recipe from Algarve, the south region of Portugal, more specifically from Aljezur. Aljezur is not only a gorgeous small village in the Vicentine Coast, it is also a place with a very fertile and particular kind of soil that produces amazing quality ingredients, being the most famous of those ingredients the unique sweet potatoes and the peanuts a.k.a. alcagoitas, as we (people from Algarve) call them. I modified a little this recipe from this really nice cookbook. It presents great recipes, some more typical and others more innovative, all containing the sweet potatoes from Aljezur. I should tell you that this is one of my favourite cooking books, it contains really nice photographs and good and simple recipes. Wish there were more projects and books like this one in Algarve. Ingredients: 4 eggs 180 g of sugar 250 g sweet potato purée 100g  of shredded coconut zest of 1/2 lemon 1 tablespoon of flour for cakes 1 teaspoon of baking powder Preparation: Preheat the oven at 180ºC. Boil some sweet potatoes, take of their …

Simple Red Fruit Crumble

When you go over for dinner at friends and they put you in charge of dessert, sometimes (maybe many times) you don’t want to spend the whole day shopping and baking. This is a really simple and quick dessert that, when served with a ball of vanilla ice cream, will seem like it envolved a considerable amount of effort to do it. The ice cream will also help balancing the red fruit acidity. It is the perfect ending for a earthy and meaty meal. The apple crumble was already a favourite of mine, I usually do it many times, but this time I wanted to try something different, not to mention that I had a bag of red fruits in the freezer waiting to be used. Ingredients: Filling 3 zests of lemon pack of frozen red fruit (450g) 50g de brown sugar Crumble 150g of flour 75g of butter 50g refined sugar handful of toasted almond in pieces Preparation: Cook the frozen red fruit in a non-stick pan with the sugar and lemon zest, it …

Crème Brûlée Recipe

Crème Brûlée is one of my ultimate favourite desserts. It’s not your everyday dessert, it is suppose to be something special, for both work and calories that envolves. But let’s not count calories today, because otherwise this would be a post about a salad and not about dessert. I assure you that the taste of this recipe will be worth of every bit of work you put into it. The recipe was adapted from the one in The Pioneer Woman’s blog. Serves: 8 portions (depending on the size of the ramekins) For this recipe you will need oven proof ramekins, a baking sheet, a mixer and a kitchen torch. Ingredients: 9 big eggs 200 g granulated sugar 5 packs of fresh cream (5 x 200ml packs) 1 vanilla pod extra baker’s sugar (superfine) Preparation: Start by pre-heating the oven at 250ºC. Cut the vanilla pod in 2 halves and scrape all the seeds well with the help of a knife (don’t waist any of this black gold). In a big saucepan heat the cream and the vanilla seeds and pod in medium heat. Whip …