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!



  1. Replies
    1. After a good overnight stay in the fridge... it is heaven.

  2. It's Brazilian tiramisu, but, in my opinion, better.

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