It is Halloween and nothing better than trick Brazil’s national cocktail Caipirinha (traditionally made of cachaça, lime and sugar) and make a darker and scary-looking version instead.
I made this perfect wicked potion mixing vodka, crushed ice, sugar and Jaboticaba.
Jaboticaba is a fruit native to southeastern Brazil and its particularity is the fact that it grows in the tree trunk. The fruit has a purplish black astringent skin, with a white gelatinous flesh. It is lovely when eaten raw and commonly used on desserts, jams and wine.
The tree usually fruits only once or twice a year, but a single tree produces so much fruit that I remember when neighbours would share bowls full of the freshly picked treats from their backyards as a celebration for the abundance.
Jaboticaba is in season from September to November in Australia and luckily I found it in a local market in Sydney.
Like many Brazilians, Guava fight has always been one of the classic games of my childhood.
There were plenty of guava trees in most of the backyards or across streets and because the trees bear fruit in abundance, there was always leftover fruits for insects, birds and the kids’ games.
To avoid waste, fruits were also used for making cakes, compotes, jams and many other desserts like guava paste, Romeu e Julieta, goiabinha (a sweet called little guava), mantecau com goiabada and a cake called Bolo de Rolo.
Actually, the guava paste was created in Brazil when guava was used by Portuguese settlers as a substitute to prepare the quince marmalade. The dessert is made of sugar (that during Colonial Brazil the sugar would come straight out of the mill), water and guava.
On the other hand the guava paste soufflé was created by Carla Pernambuco, owner and chef at Charlotte in Sao Paulo in the very clever attempt to recreate a version of the traditional guava paste and cheese, known as Romeu e Julieta.
As souffles are excellent representation of what force of gravity is, they tend to fade soon after they leave the oven and the big challenge for those who prepare them is to ensure that they stand high.
What I loved when I prepared this soufflé was the simplicity of this recipe and surprise when ready: a high soufflé (and stable) and beneath a crispy crusty top, an airy crumb that melted in my mouth leaving a very smooth taste of guava in the end. It felt like I was eating candy floss.
Guava Paste Soufflé
4 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
220 g guava paste
Butter and sugar for greasing ramekins
How to prepare:
Grease the ramekins with the butter and sugar.
Beat egg whites in a mixer or a whisk. When you begin to gain momentum, add the salt and beat until soft peaks form.
Gradually, add the guava paste and mix well. If you want to use guava paste rust type (“Goiabada Cascão“), melt it in the pan with a bit of water until it is very creamy.
Fill the ramekins with the mixture and bake in preheated oven at 160º C for approximately 10 minutes or until the soufflé is puffed and golden brown..
Raise the oven temperature at the end of cooking to make the soufflé golden brown.
Remove the soufflé from the oven and serve immediately.
The traditional version is served with cream cheese and the recipe can be found here.
There’s so much talk about the acai I hardly know where to start with. The most interesting thing is that each new study proves more and more nutritional benefits of this berry.
Acai and guarana have been used by Amazonian indigenous tribes for centuries as foods that gives energy before a fight or long hunting trips. In fact the name of the fruit is of Tupi-Guarani origin and means “fruit that cries” or “fruit that leaks”.
Nowadays this Amazon pearl is consumed worldwide and is considered one of the top 10 natural superfood being part of diets, production of cosmetics and medical treatments.
The truth is that I love acai bowl with banana and granola. The taste did not please me the very first time I tried it but from the second spoonful I was addicted to the mixture.
I remember all the wonderful summers my family spent in Ilhabela and how we used to finish the afternoon in the sunny days (after going to the beach and having BBQ) with a nice acai bowl with fruits and granola.
Is it fat?? Unfortunately yes. The fruit has high caloric value and should be consumed in moderation.
And just in case you still not convinced, here are some key properties of the acai:
It has high amounts of vitamin E; so it is a natural antioxidant and helps fight free radicals;
It is rich in fibre and thus helps in bowel habits;
It is rich in iron, important mineral for our bodies and that fights anaemia;
It contains considerable protein, element that acts in the repair and construction of tissues and are essential in the diet to lose fat;
It has a large concentration of calcium, which is essential for building bones and teeth;
It has a high content of vitamin B1, as well as help stimulate appetite, ensures the proper functioning of the nervous system