Friday, July 20, 2012

Pavê-ing Around.

I wonder how many of you get the same kick out of my titles as I do. Unless you speak Portuguese, or any of the languages that share the use of this word, you probably just have absolutely no idea what that is relating to.. AT ALL. Which is why I found it comical to make a play on the word in the first place. My inside joke I guess. ANYWAY. Let's learn about Pavê.
     Pavê is pronouced (pah-vay) and best translates into the word parfait. Parfait basically means "perfect" in French, and generally describes those yummy frozen layered desserts you know and love. In Brazil, though, Pavê is not frozen. I mean some people may freeze it depending on its variation, but for the most part it is only necessary to serve cold. Not only is it necessary, it is vital. Though most of the recipes I see here say to keep it in the fridge for at least 3 hours, I found that keeping it in overnight made for a "parfait" result. Get it?
     This dessert is a traditional dessert item in Brazil and each household has their own variation of it. People make Pavê with pretty much anything they can think of to add, but the main ingredients which remain crucial are eggs,milk, cream, and condensed milk. Without these items you cannot make a proper Pavê. Everything else you add is at your own discretion. I made this dessert for the first time the other day. I must say, it takes a little work, but is WORTH every bit of it in the end. This dessert is so delicious. You know the filling inside of a custard donut or eclair? Yeah it's got that stuff as a layer. Amazing. So, if you are looking to wow everyone with something different and delicious, try this recipe out. When you're done putting it together you can decorate it and make it super pretty. It might even go over well as a birthday cake alternative. It's good stuff. So let's get started.

What you will need:

* For this recipe you will need a sauce pan/pot for cooking the cream. You will also need either a wire whisk or a mixer. We have neither right now in my case, so I used my husband's handy hands to beat my whites. ;)
* The dish for this dessert can be really anything that's deep. Most people use a fluted bowl or deep pie/casserole dish. As long as it's about 2-3 inches deep you should be good. You also don't want something really huge either... because you won't have enough cream to spread around everything. Unless you double the ingredients... which in my opinion, you can't have too much of!

FOR CREAM: (Parenthesis contain Portuguese word for ingredient)
  • 1 can condensed milk (leite condensado)
  • 1 cup milk (leite)
  • 4 egg yolks (gemas)
  • 1 tsp corn starch (amido)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (baunilla)
  • 4 egg whites (claros)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar (acucar)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (creme de leite sem soro- meaning the kind in the box not can- Brazil only)
  • 1 package lady fingers (Biscoito Champagne)
  • other type of cookie that does well when absorbed with liquids... such as kit kats (in Brazil, Bis)
  • optional - if you like it fruity, use peaches, pineapple, strawberries, or other fruits that taste good when used in desserts heavy in dairy. I didn't use any this time, but I will next time.
  • 1 cup milk (leite)
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate powder (chocolate em po)

1. Separate your eggs first and foremost. Yellows in one bowl, whites in the other. Set the whites aside we'll get to those.

 2. Dump condensed milk, milk, yolks, and corn starch into sauce pan and stir together. Turn heat on low to medium and stir continually. 

3. Once the goop has thickened you can add your vanilla. Keep the heat on though and keep stirring. You will stir this stuff for about 10-15 minutes depending on the amount of heat you have it on. It need to be so thick that it doesn't fall off of the spoon as soon as you take it out.

4. When the consistency is more like the filling you see in a custard donut, you can turn the heat off. You don't want it to be too runny because it won't set when you cool it, and if you cook it too long it won't taste good when it cools. So just make sure it's like a very thick custard before you turn off the heat. Set it aside and allow it to cook and thicken while you do the rest of the steps.

5. Take your eggs whites and put them in a large mixing bowl. Begin to whip them with a wire whisk or mixer on medium speed until they start to foam up and turn white like the pic above. At this point, you can add your sugar.

6. Continue whipping/mixing your whites until they resemble fluffy clouds. They should be what is called "peaked" meaning you can literally see peaks rising off the tops of the whites like mountains. It should be very stiff.

7. Add your cream little by little, continually whipping/mixing it in with whatever method you are using. Be careful not to put your mixing speed too high as it will lose it's "puff". 

8. Mix well. Set aside.

9. Take your lady fingers and line them up in a shallow dish. Mix your milk and chocolate powder together and pour, little by little, over the cookies. 

10. Let them sit for just a couple minutes to absorb the liquid. You don't want them to sit too long though because you won't be able to pick them up to put them in the desired dish.

11. Add your other cookie or fruit choices on top of that. You can also add another layer of lady fingers.

12. Spoon all of the cream over the cookies. Make sure you cover it as much as possible. 

13. It should look something like this. At this point you can add another layer of cookies or whatever you think will taste good. Some people like to make several layers. I kept it simple for teaching purposes, though.  It tastes awesome with the basic layers anyway.

14. Now pour on your covering. (Egg white mix). Smooth it over and make sure everything is well covered. 

15. This is the fun part. Decorate it with whatever you want! The most popular toppings in Brazil are shaved chocolate, crushed cookies, and strawberries. You can also throw the leftover lady fingers on top. 

This is what it looks like from the side - note the layering.

16. Place finished product into the fridge for at LEAST 3-5 hours. However I feel that you will have the best experience with this if you let it sit overnight. I wasn't very impressed with what I tried after the 3 hours mark. The next morning, however, it was AMAZING! Everything had set perfectly and the cookies had gotten super soft and mixed in better with everything. It really is the most important part of this recipe in my opinion. If you try to eat it too early, it's going to be more like a pudding. If you leave it long enough, it will be more like a really soft cake!

* I have seen a lot of people here actually use those tube pans with the fall out bottoms to make decorative. tasty birthday cakes. I def. recommend trying that!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hey, Get off my Strogonoff!


It's Strogonoff Time!

       Stroganoff is basically the same word in Portuguese, only it  is spelled "strogonoff." It is not eaten with egg noodles, and really is made totally different from the stroganoff you are probably familiar with. If you live in Brazil, you have most likely tried this dish, as it is extremely popular.
      Because it is rare or impossible to find a can of cream of mushroom soup in Brazil, or pretty much most of what goes into a typical stroganoff recipe,the same taste has to be created using different ingredients. In the states, for example, my mother always uses cream of mushroom soup, ranch dressing mix (not ranch dressing!), mushrooms, and sour cream... among a few other things. Well in Brazil you really can't find any of those things! Most mushrooms you can find are these weird little mushy conserved mushrooms. They are squeaky when you eat them, and they really taste nothing like a mushroom. I mean they're basically pickled!
      Brazilians use some very interesting ingredients to make this dish, and though it wouldn't seem like, they end up creating a taste very similar to what I knew back in the states. This strogonoff is not eaten over egg noodles, but is instead served with/over white rice and potato stix. Interesting isn't it? Whether you live in Brazil or elsewhere, this recipe is not tricky or difficult, and it uses ingredients that most of you probably already have in your house.... especially if you live in Brazil. Also, if you live in Brazil and do not like the mushrooms here, you can sub chunks of heart of palm. Still just as yummy. The recipe I am about to share does not use onions because my husband HATES onions, so I always leave onions out of my recipes. Intead of onions I am using minced garlic and chives. Sooooo yum. So without further ado.....

What you will need:

  • large skillet for frying beef
  • cooking utensils
  • 1 kilo or 2 pounds of cubed beef - a soft cut is best (chicken and shrimp can sub meat,too)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions/chives (or 1-2 diced onion)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tomatoes - peeled/deseeded/diced
  • 1 tbsp "molho ingles" or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 cup mushrooms or heart of palm chunks
  • 1 can of milk cream aka creme de leite

1. Melt butter in large skillet.

2. Brown meat to your desire. I like mine not totally cooked all the way through... ends up being softer in the end. 

3. Remove the meat and set it aside (keeping all the remaining juices and butter inside the skillet. Add you onions and sautee them. Here I omited onions and subbed green onion and garlic.

4. Return the meat and stir it into everything.

5. Add Worcestershire sauce and mushrooms. Keep everything simmering do not turn off heat. 

6. Stir everything together.

7. Add diced tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard. Mix together well.

8. Turn heat down to low and place lid on top. Leave it to simmer for 5 minutes. A good amount of juice should start to collect.

9. Remove lid and turn off heat. Once it stops simmering, add the cream little by little. Stirring it in really well before adding more. Until you have a nice, rich cream sauce.

10. Like this!

Check out the "helping hands" would ya!

11. It should look like this after the cream has cooled a little and settled. Serve this over white rice and you got yourself a delicious new way to eat Stroganoff! Throw some potato stix on the plate as a side and you have a complete traditional Brazilian dish! Good Luck!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Torta Happy!


If you are Spanish-literate at all, you may or may not be aware of the fact that there are two meanings for the word torta. In Mexico, it is a sandwich. In Argentina, it is a cake.
     In Brazilian Portuguese, it is nothing close to either of these; it is a breaded pie. By breaded pie I mean something along the lines of what you know as a "pot pie" in the states, only the breading is something rather simple thrown together in a blender. It is categorized in a group of food items known as "salgados". This translates into "salties" more or less in english. Salgados are more known as being small baked or fried foods that are served in between meals as a snack, and Brazil thrives off of them. They are a solid part of Brazilian culture. Salgados are often found served by street vendors, at farmer's markets, and in any bakery or deli. Most of the time you can find people eating salgados for breakfast or in between breakfast and lunch. They're also eaten from street vendors at night as a nice little night time snack. Tortas are usually served at delis and bakeries. They're really filling, so a lof of people will actually just have a slice for lunch. Generally people eat tortas with ketchup, mustard, mayo, or hot sauce. Or all of the above. There are several different kinds of tortas, but the most popular tortas are made with either beef (shredded or ground), chicken, sardines, or cheese. My favorites are both chicken and beef, but my boys love beef the most so I am constantly making beef. And this is what I will be showing you how to make.

What you will need:

  • Frying Pan for beef.
  • large deep dish pie pan or medium to large deep rectangular pan
  • spoon, fork, knife, serving utensils
  • large mixing bowl
  • blender
  • 1 lb. or 1/2 kilo of ground beef
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 slices mozzarella cheese-- or whatever cheese covering you prefer (traditionally here either mozzarella or catupiry is used)
  • -optional- diced onions, chopped green onions, olives, corn, diced tomatoes (really anything you like inside of cooked ground beef. I generally utilize whatever I have handy in the fridge at the moment.)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 whipped egg white (for topping finished raw pie with)
  • -optional- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and/or 1/4 cup mayonnaise
Ok, here we go:

1. Put the raw ground beef into frying pan with the 4 tbsp. of oil and start cooking on medium to high heat.

2. Add all of your additions that you want for your ground beef along with minced garlic, salt, and pepper to your liking. For this instance I used shredded carrots, and green olives. 
3. Stir it all together and leave the meat to brown. While that is cooking, start your breading. Keep an eye on your meat as it is cooking. When it has completely browned, turn off the oven. The ground beef should not have much juice or moisture left in it. If it does, it's not done.
4. First put the milk, eggs, and oil into the blender on medium to high speed and leave to blend for a good 3 or 4 minutes. Don't turn it off yet. If you are adding parmesan cheese or mayo, add that now.

5. With the blender still going, slowly add your 1 1/2 cups of flour until you have used it all up, then add your baking powder and salt. Blend until it's all combined and stop.

6. If throughout the blending process the dough starts to get too stiff or hard to blend, add a little milk. 
7. Preheat oven to about 190 C or 375 F.
8. Take your deep dish or large rectangular baking pan and coat with margarine or butter. Coat that with flour.

9. First pour half of the contents in the blender into the baking dish. 

10. Next, layer on the cooked ground beef mix.

11. After that, spread mozzarella cheese over beef.

12. Top that with the leftover dough mix from blender. Smooth over with a spoon.
Note the small face resting on the counter, watching my every move. He's in training!

13. Separate the egg white from an egg and whip the egg white up until frothy. 

Top the torta with the egg white and gently spread it over the top.

14. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly looking.

15. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. 
16. ENJOY!

This is super yummy with ketchup and mustard (I think it tastes like a cheeseburger pie). It is also good with flavored mayo or hot sauce. I loooove mine with hot sauce! It's also super filling so it's a great meal idea for a family of 4-6 with a side salad or something like that.