Monday, January 1, 2007

Recipe: Quindins de Yá-Yá

Coconut upside-down treats
Recipe from Around the Table: Eat Smart travel guide series
By Vesna Vuynovich Kovach
In Brava magazine, January 2007

This Brazilian favorite is “like a rich, satisfying macaroon,” says Joan, “with rich, golden yellow tops.” Included in her first volume. Eat Smart in Brazil, it’s a delicious fusion of African cookery with the European sweet tooth. In Brazil’s colonial days “the young girls of the plantation mansions, or casas grandes, were addressed as Yá-Yá by the slaves,” says Joan, who suggests using the leftover whites in egg white omelettes. (Or, save towards Betty Arp’s 13-whites Angel Food Cake, given in “Around the Table,” June 2006!)

1/4 pound butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
9 egg yolks
1 cup coconut, freshly grated*

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream the butter and sugar, mixing well. Add yolks one by one, stirring well after each. When the sugar is completely dissolved, gently stir in coconut.

Lightly grease a shallow muffin pan and fill to a depth of 1 inch. Set into a baking tray containing about 1/2 inch of water and bake for about 35 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil over into the muffin cups. The quindins will be lightly browned on the surface.

Cool. Carefully loosen the edges with a knife before inverting the muffin pan over a flat surface. For best results, Joan recommends unmolding each quindim (the singular ends in “m”) one at a time.

Fresh coconut? You can do it!
Sorry, but shredded coconut from a bag won’t work here. Says Joan, “It doesn't have the same taste, consistency or moisture.” Fortunately, fresh, whole coconuts are available in the produce aisle of nearly any supermarket, and armed with Joan’s simple – if a bit adventuresome – method for getting at the tasty innards, you’re on your way to a heavenly coconut flavor and texture that just can’t be matched.

Heat the coconut for 10 minutes in a 350°F oven to crack it. Using potholders, remove from oven and place in a large metal bowl on the floor. Cover with a towel and hit the coconut with a hammer to break it completely open. Separate the coconut meat from the outer shell, prying with a dull knife if needed. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape away the thin brown skin that clings to the white coconut meat. Grate the meat in a food processor. “Whatever you don't use of the grated coconut, you can freeze for later use,” Joan says.

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