Fluffy Brazilian Manioc Rolls

Fluffy Brazilian Manioc RollsI first made manioc bread about three years ago. My neighbor gave me some manioc and I decided to have a go at making bread with it. It turned out really nice. It was super fluffy and really tasty. But, after that one time, I never made it again. Probably because manioc, in its raw form, is a vegetable that I rarely buy.

Recently, however, I have been buying organic manioc to sell along with the produce from my farm and what is leftover I end up keeping at home. So, finally, I decided to give another go at making manioc bread.

This time, instead of making a bread, I decided to go with a bit of a richer roll, similar to brioche. The recipe was really easy and fast to make. The rolls turned out delicious and fluffy and were a perfect roll to eat just with butter or with some delicious strawberry and rhubarb jam from my neighbor.

Here is the recipe. Give it a go. If you can’t find manioc at your local supermarket you can probably substitute with mashed potato.
Fluffy Brazilian Manioc Rolls

FLUFFY MANIOC ROLLS

600g/1.3lbs cooked and mashed manioc
2 tbsps of white sugar
45g bread yeast
1 cup of milk
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp of salt
2 tbsps of unsalted butter
3 eggs
1kg/2.2lbs of white flour

Peel and chop the manioc. Place in a pan of water and boil until soft (if you have a pressure cooker, boil the manioc for about 30 minutes). Remove from the water and mash well with a fork. Add the milk and mix until you reach a smooth consistency (it is ok if you have some lumps).

In a mixing bowl add the sugar, yeast, oil, salt, butter and eggs. Add the manioc and milk mixture and using a kitchen aid or wooden spoon mix until well incorporated. Slowly begin adding the flour a little at a time until you have a dough that is smooth and not sticky. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

Place in a large bowl, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 250C/480F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, shape small rolls, approximately 20. Place on the prepared baking sheets and set aside to rise for 15-20 minutes, until doubled in size.

Brush the tops of the rolls with egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Fluffy Brazilian Manioc Rolls

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That’s the name of the cake. SERIOUSLY!

Nega malucaDon’t judge me when I tell you the name of this cake. It really is what it’s called. I didn’t come up with the name. In Portuguese this cake is called nega maluca and is a cake loved by almost every Brazilian. Translated, nega maluca means ‘crazy black woman’. No joke! The cake received this name because it is the most chocolate of chocolate cakes, crazily black! I don’t think I have ever made a cake that takes this much cocoa powder.

I always found the name of this cake rather funny. I mean who names a cake ‘crazy black woman’? But, it took me a while to make it. Sometime ago I made it, but it didn’t work out as well as I would have liked. The taste was perfect, but it didn’t rise too much in the oven. So, last week I decided to give this cake another chance. My husband loves this cake and I wanted to be able to make a perfect version of it for him!

I grabbed a recipe from online and made the cake. It worked beautifully. I followed the instructions for the icing and to my dismay it did not turn out the way I wanted it to. The cake was super tasty, but I didn’t like the icing. So, this week I did some research into different types of icing and I came across an american recipe. The icing was ‘heritage frosting’. If you have never heard of this before, neither had I. It is an icing that you actually cook. It sounded really interesting, so I decided to give it a go.

This weekend I made the cake again, using the Brazilian icing for the middle layer and the heritage frosting on the outside. It turned out beautiful and was a perfect mix of Brazilian and American.

For anyone who loves chocolate cakes this is for you!

Nega malucaNega Maluca Cake

The Cake
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of white flour
1 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of sunflower oil
1 tbsp of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 cup of boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C/365F. Grease a round baking tin.
Mix the egg, sugar, flour, salt, oil, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl. Add the hot water and mix well. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes until cooked through.
Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Icing
1 tbsps of milk
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 tbsp of butter
1 cup of white sugar

Put all ingredients into a small pan and heat until begins to boil. Mix well for approximately 1 to 2 minutes making sure not to let it burn.
Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Heritage Frosting
3 tbsps white flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup/225g of butter
1 cup of white sugar
3 tbsps cocoa powder

Cook flour and milk over medium high heat until thickened, approximately three minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. After flour and milk mixture has cooled, cream together butter, sugar, and cocoa until light and fluffy, about three minutes.

Add flour and milk mixture to butter mixture and beat until it has reached a whipped cream consistency. Add vanilla and beat one additional minute.
Nega maluca

We learn the most from our mistakes!

A Taste of Brazil (c)I am sure that even Gordon Ramsay messes up recipes sometimes. Come on, he has to, right? Making mistakes and messing up in the kitchen is all part of becoming a good cook. Every chef has made one big mistake in the kitchen or has had a simple recipe go completely wrong or mix up the salt for the sugar. Making mistakes is important to learning how to cook and how to become better at cooking. Actually, making mistakes is part of becoming better at anything.

A Taste of Brazil (c)Just because I post pictures of my successful recipes does not mean that I don’t have complete failures in the kitchen or absolute melt downs. Just ask my husband, he would be more than happy to share the countless times that something has not worked out properly or I have thrown the empty bowl of cake batter across the kitchen. It happens to the best  of us.

I wanted to learn how to cook Brazilian food and I knew that meant that there would be disasters, failures and hair-pulling moments. But, always, along the way there have been wonderful successes. After persevering I have mastered some delicious Brazilian foods and am always hungry for more recipes.

This weekend I had a complete and utter failure in the kitchen. A recipe that should have worked fine was an absolute disaster. Ok, the pão de queijo was edible, but it looked terrible, stuck to the ramekins and had no flavor.

A Taste of Brazil (c)I used my blender pão de queijo recipe that has always worked perfectly for me. But, this weekend absolutely FAILED. Instead of letting this defeat me it motivated me to be more careful with my baking and to analyze whether I couldn’t improve this recipe (see, out of failure comes greatness…hopefully!). I quickly discovered why my recipe probably failed this weekend, it was because I used a different  type of cheese, instead of using a hard cheese I used a creamier cheese. But, still I am now on a mission to see whether this recipe can’t be improved.

So the lesson of the day people is to NEVER, EVER give up!

Failed pão de queijo

The mass of failed pão de queijo!

 

Bolo de fubá – Delicious Brazilian Corn Cake

These past weeks have been pretty challenging here on the farm. Not so much because of work, but because of weather. I feel as though these last few weeks I have been carried away on a whirlwind and been taken for a good ride. The weather, thankfully, seems to be returning to normal, but still there is some adjusting that I need to do.

For the last two weeks of May we had constant rain or I should more accurately say: torrential rain. May, here in Brazil, is the beginning of the dry season which lasts until September. This year, there was no dry season in site during the month of May. It did not stop raining and for the last two weeks of the month all we saw was grey skies, fog and tons of rain. We had to stop almost all work on the farm and slowly began turning into frogs.

Then, just to really keep this whirlwind journey going, as soon as the rain stopped a cold front moved in and this last week we have been experiencing minus degree weather. I live at a high altitude and during winter it isn’t uncommon to get temperatures close to 0C. But, this year was exceptional. We have been waking up to frost every morning and have been struggling to stay warm and work outside. Harvesting vegetables early in the morning with close to zero temperatures is really no fun.

So, I have been occupied with the weather recently. But, during all this tumultuous weather changes I have managed to keep busy by baking some wonderful cakes. So, instead of talking about the weather, let’s get back to the delicious Brazilian cuisine.

Brazilians absolutely love corn and especially like to make sweet corn dishes. Growing up in England I didn’t eat much corn. Then moving to the USA I began eating a little bit more corn. And now in Brazil, I don’t seem to be able to get away from corn. Remember those little corn breads I made a while ago? Those are a regular staple in my house among many other corn dishes.

So, while the weather has been nasty I have been perfecting my Brazilian corn cake or as it is known in Brazil, bolo de fubá. This is a very popular cake and can be found at almost any bakery. Everybody seems to have their own recipe for this cake and there is no limitation on what additional flavorings or fillings you can add to it. Still being new to this cake I am constantly perfecting my recipe, but I have already accrued three different recipes, with three different flavors that I absolutely love.

Today I am going to share my favorite recipe and the corn cake that I most often make at home. But, I promise I will share my other two recipes soon.

Bolo de Fubá – Brazilian Corn Cake

1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of white flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of corn meal
1/2 – 1 cup of sunflower oil**
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsps of fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 180C/365F. Grease a bunt tin with butter and flour.

Mix the first five ingredients together. You can mix with a whisk in a bowl or use a blender. Once all ingredients are fully incorporated add the baking powder and fennel seed. Mix well.

Pour ingredients into the tin and bake for 30-45 minutes.

Once cooled, remove cake from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar.

**A note on the quantity of oil to use: I do not like using a lot of oil in my cakes, so although this recipe called for 1 cup of oil, I managed to successfully decrease the quantity to 1/2 a cup. Feel free to use the full cup of oil or if you like less oil just decrease the amount.

Brazilian Sweet Squash Dessert

Long neck squash - Abóbora pescoço

This is the beautiful squash that we harvested. They can weigh from 5kg (11lbs) to 20kg (44lbs) and have a beautiful orange color!

At the beginning of May we harvested a ton of squash here on the farm. This is not the americana butternut squash, but a gigantic squash that can weigh up to 20kg/44lbs. . Although I am selling most of it, I am still up to my arms in squash and most of my cooking at the moment involves squash in some form or another. One of the best things that I have made so far is a sweet squash dessert. Boiling the squash with cloves, coconut and sugar makes the most delicious dessert, especially if paired with fresh cheese.

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Brazilian Sweet Squash DessertSweet Squash Dessert

1.5kg/3.3lbs cubed squash (you can use any kind of squash or pumpkin)
450g/1lb white sugar
15-20 cloves
50g-100g/1.7oz-3.5oz shredded coconut

Cube the squash. In a medium to large pan add all of the ingredients except the coconut. Bring to the boil. There is no need to add water as the squash will release a lot of water, but if you think it is a bit dry and the squash is burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan, you can add some water. Boil for approximately 30 to 45 minutes until the squash is soft. Using a fork, mash all of the squash until you have a nice pulp. Add the coconut, mixing in well. Continue boiling until you have a thick puree. Add more sugar, coconut or cloves if you want.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve on it own or with fresh cheese.

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.