Catupiry: King Cream Cheese of Brazil


You probably never heard of this cream cheese but in Brazil Catupiry reigns. It’s one of the few Brazilian foods in which the trademark became the most important reference for the product (like Xerox or Google). The name Catupiry comes from the native Amazonian language “Tupi-Guarani”, and it means excellent.

Developed in 1911, by Mario Silvestrini, an immigrant from Ravenna, Italy, when he and his sister Isaira opened a tiny little store in Minas Gerais. Since 1949, the cheese is manufactured in Bebedouro, in the region of São Paulo, where they receive four millions liters of milk per month transported from many different farms.

Catupiry is made from fresh cow milk that is warmed, mixed with yeast, heavy cream, sour cream, and salt.

When I was a little girl, I remember buying Catupiry nestled in a small wooden box, but in recent years, the company changed the packaging to a plastic container instead, and today, Catupiry cheese is exported to Japan, Canada, United States, and many countries in Europe.

In terms of cooking technique, Catupiry is a cream cheese but more than anything else, it’s a brand. Its taste evokes the taste of cream, soft and rich, a little like St Andre, a little like butter, but mostly like itself. Burnished in golden color, it has a dense, silky texture, slightly sweet, and it remains a key ingredient in totemic Brazilian dishes.


There are other types of cream cheese in Brazil, though we refer to them as Requeijão. Most requeijão have a much thinner consistency than catupiry, and those are the ones used to spread on a piece of toast, like we apply Philadelphia cream cheese in the US, for example.

You can eat it plain, or simply spread on a piece of bread, but catupiry is mostly appreciated when paired with proteins, in stews or savory baked goods. Few proteins capture the heart of catupiry as chicken and shrimp. In the world of vegetables, I think of hearts of palm and broccolis. And, we cannot forget carne seca (Brazilian jerk meat). To any Brazilian, catupiry goes well with a world of foods.

Other than Romeo and Julieta—the classic combination of Goiabada com Catupiry (guava paste with catupiry)—the cheese has rarely extended to the dessert tray. But actually, it’s not a bad idea. In fact it’s a great one. I’ve been thinking about how to infiltrate catupiry in desserts in the past few months. Catupiry is, after all, a cream cheese, and cream cheese makes a significant contribution to the American pastry. So why not try it?

This led me here: Blueberry Catupiry Tart. I don’t know if this will become a trend, but let me tell you, right here, it worked pretty good .

Needless to say, as the rule goes for pie-crust, you want to work with cold ingredients, and that goes for the cheese as well. You blind bake the tart until it’s nice and crunchy. The pastry cream, is pretty straight forward, and in the end, you add the catupiry cheese. The fruit you will use for topping is up to you. I like blueberries because they have a long history of dating cream cheese (marcarpone and blueberries are featured in many lovely desserts), but you can use other berries as well. Strawberries would be rather nice too.


Catupiry Tart

Catupiry Cheese can be found at many Brazilian and Latin specialty stores. You can substitute for cream cheese or mascarpone.


Makes one 9-inch Tart

Serves 8


For the Crust:

1 cup (160g) all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons (80g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

¼ cup (60g) Catupiry cream cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons cold water


Catupiry Pastry Cream:

1 cup (250ml) milk, divided

5 tablespoons (55g) sugar, divided

4 large egg yolks

2 ½ tablespoons (18g) cornstarch

¾ cup (150g) Catupiry Cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup (175ml) heavy cream


Blueberry Topping:

2 ½ cups blueberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon water

Equipment: 9- inch fluted pan with removable bottom


  1. Prepare the Crust: Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the Catupiry cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Buzz for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the butter and buzz again. Add the water until dough forms into a ball. (Depending on the humidity level, you might need as much as 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water.)
  2. Place the dough onto a floured surface and gather into a ball, then flat into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (This can be done up to 5 days ahead).
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a circle between 1/16 and 1/8 inch thick, lifting the dough often, and making sure that the work surface and the dough are amply floured at all times. Roll the dough up and around your rolling pin then unroll it onto the tart mold. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the mold. If the dough cracks or splits as you work, don’t worry—patch the cracks with scraps using a wet finger to “glue” them in place.
  5. Butter the shiny side of a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and fit the paper, butter side down against the crust. Place some dry beans or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for another 8 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack.
  6. Prepare the Catupiry Pastry Cream: Combine ¾ cup of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the reamining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup of milk into the egg yolk mixture. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add a little at a time to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from cooking. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and cook over low heat whisking constantly, until it thickens. Add the catupiry and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Cool at room temperature stirring occasionally.
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks. Whisk the pastry cream vigorously to eliminate any lumps, then fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream. Chill until you’re ready to assemble the dessert. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time.
  8. Make the Bluepberry Topping: In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the blueberries with the sugar and water. Cook over low heat until the berries have broken down, about 5 minutes. Strain the cooked berries into a bowl and discard the solids. Add the remaining 1½ cups whole berries to the cooked berry syrup and toss to combine.
  9. Assemble the Pie: Spoon the pastry cream into the tart shell and top with the blueberries. Serve soon after assembling.



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