Gislaine Murgia’s Best Honey Cake

Gislaine Murgia

Gislaine Murgia


Gislaine Murgia came to the U.S. 11 years ago. Her kitchen in Queens, New York is strongly connected to her homeland—and mine— from the cakes and snacks like empadinhas (empanadas) and coxinhas (chicken fritters), to brigadeiros and other confections from Brazil. But the sweet she craves the most is pão de mel, or honey cake. And so she decided to give life to the recipe, here in New York City.

Contrary to what the name indicates, there is nothing bready about pão de mel(pão means bread in Portuguese). Gislaine’s honey cake is based on her mother’s recipe, baked in a sheet pan, soaked in syrup, cut into small squares, and dipped in chocolate.

Gislaine was born and raised in São Paulo and immigrated to the U.S. following the footsteps of her mother, who had done the same 20 years ago. Determined to restart her life after becoming pregnant with a baby daughter, Gislaine left a drug addict and alcoholic husband behind, losing 75 pounds in the process.

In Brazil, Gislaine worked as a sales associate in different home décor stores, but when her family bought a pizzeria, she joined the party and acquired a liking for cooking.

Since Gislaine arrived in New York, she has been taking a step-by-step approach to life, not afraid of knocking on people’s door offering her delicious confections. “Everyone who tries my honey cake (pão de mel), wants to buy more”, she says happily.

Mercifully, this style of classic Brazilian pastries has proven remarkably resistant over the decades, and because tolerance is such a strong Brazilian trait—for good and bad—it also got carried over food. Brazilians became so immune to dried versions of pão de mel, that a good one has become an emblem of a particular culinary skill. If one can make a marvelous pão de mel, then one can truly cook.

Gislaine’s pão de mel, moist and perfumed with cinnamon and cloves, reveals the prefect balance between sugar and spicy, chocolate and honey. It caught me by surprise since I wasn’t expecting to find a version as good as this, in New York City, of all places.

Honey Cake

This is just one of the reasons why I love to meet Brazilians who live here. We are immigrants, and we are here not by birth, but by choice. Behind every recipe, there are beautiful story, and the more recipes I discover, the more I realize how strong Brazilian people really are.

Back in Brazil, pão de melis frozen in the past; at best it is home-made classic, at worst, and most often, it is dried cake, overly coated with hydrogenated chocolate. Gislaine’s pão de melrepresents the past at its best. Even thousands of miles away from home, it brought me back to Brazil, and reminded me of my own past and childhood, sweet and unforgettable.

To know more about Gislaine’s work, visit her facebook page

To order Gislaine’s honey cake and other treats, please get in touch with her: [email protected]

Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake

There are occasions in life that have a simple majesty. A birthday. Anniversary. Graduation. Birth. This recipe for Best Carrot Cake is witness to boundless passion for cooking and it doesn’t just fit the occasion. It creates the occasion. You have to click on this, because this recipe will fit so well in your kitchen!

Carrot Cake



Best Carrot Cake

Makes 1 cake, serving 12- 14 people


For the Cake:

1 ½ cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted

1 lb grated carrots (grated by hand on the largest whole of a grader)

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 ½ (368g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

¾ tsp baking soda

4 large eggs, room temp

1 cup (205g) sugar

¾ cup (118g) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ cup vegetable oil

For the Frosting:

12 oz cream cheese, room temp

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter room temp

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup powder sugar


Topping (optional): Corn Flakes

  • Prepare the Cake:pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Spray two cake pans (9”- diameter) with grease, line with parchment paper and spray again.
  • In a bowl, combine the carrots, ginger and buttermilk.
  • In another bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with the two sugars on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating.
  • Change the attachment to a paddle attachment, reduce the speed to low, and start adding the oil.
  • Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until blended.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the pecans and fold well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
  • Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating half way through baking time.
  • Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes and invert onto a wire rack. Be sure to peel off the parchment paper and cool completely. Cakes can be done up to 5 days ahead of time and kept wrapped in plastic film in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the Frosting:in the bowl of an electric beater fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter.
  • Beat in the vanilla and mix well.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the powder sugar. Carefully increase the speed to high and beat until the frosting looks light, fluffy and creamy, about 4 minutes.
  • Assemble the Cake:place one cake, domed side down on a platter. Using an off=set spatula, spread ¾ cup of the frosting on top. Place the remaining cake (domed side down) on top. Use the remaining of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake, making decorative swirls.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

A Pie from the Sky: Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

In praise of summer, this Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart is the dessert of now!

it’s a pie in the sky, adapted from Nick Malgieri’s cookbook Bake! (Kyle Books 2010)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart


Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Makes a 10-inch or 8 to 10 servings

The dough is enough for 2 tarts

Cookie Dough Tart Crust

¼ cup (52g) slivered almonds

¾ cup (108g) confection sugar

2 ½ cups (405g) all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Almond Crumb Topping

1 ¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65g) organic sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

1 lb (454g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confection sugar (more for garnish)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved (or quartered if large)


  • Prepare the Dough:Combine the almonds and confection sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse well. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse until the dough form a a ball.
  • Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, or at least 1 minute. You can prepare the dough u to 5 days ahead.
  • Bring the dough to room temperature at least 20 minutes before handling. Flour the surface and dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a round disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
  • Warp the dough on the rolling pin, lift it onto the tart pan, and unwrap. Fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away the excess.
  • Plate the tart pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes before blind baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a parchment paper and fill with dry beans. Bake until the crust is dry and looking set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tart to bake until the crust is evenly lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool the crust on a rack.
  • Prepare the Almond Crumb:In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds and butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes then use your fingers to break the mixture into ¼ – to – 1/2-inch crumbs. Spread the crumbs onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven until deep golden brown.
  • Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the confection sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the Tart:Spread half of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, dust the top with confection sugar.
  • Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base to a platter and serve.
Mucho Dulce de Leche

Mucho Dulce de Leche

My first memory of dulce de leche was when I was a little kid in Teresópolis, a city north of Rio de Janeiro. I was probably 6 or 8 years old, and my mother used to buy dulce de leche from a farm on the way to the country-house. A jar never lasted long, as my brother and I would indulge in the sweet and dispute the very last spoon.

Making dulce de leche is a delicious process of cooking milk and sugar over low heat for a few hours, until it thickens to the consistency of chocolate sauce.

It can also be done by cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk in water, or in a pressure cooker, until the milk turns brown. The can must be entirely submurged in a gentle simmering water through out the whole cooking process.

Argentina, Uruguay and Spain have exported some incredible brands of dulce de leche to the world, and while there is a bit of rivalry between who created the sweet (Brazilias clain the fame, and so does Argetina), the fact is, all through South America, dulce de leche is a serious subject. In recent years, it has expanded its reach way beyond the south, and captured the heart and stomach of the entire globe.

One of my favorite ways of eating dulce de leche is with churros, the latin fried dough, piped into hot oil, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. This is street food at its best. Dulce de leche is inserted through a thin tube and slowly stuffed all the way through the inside of the hot churros.  It’s simply irresistable!!

On a recent trip to Brazil, I bought a jar home and made a delicious tart to a dinner party. It was a hit! Here is the recipe, adapted from Pies and Tarts by author Kristina Petersen Migoya


Dulce de Leche Tart


 For the Dough:

½ cup (1stick) unsalted butter

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt


For the Filling:

1¼ cups heavy cream

1/3 cup milk

1 cup dulce de leche

1/3 cup sugar

Pinch of Salt

1 whole egg

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment: one 9-inch tart pan


  • Make The Dough: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until well combined, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the egg and continue beating, scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once, until the mixture is well blended, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • In another bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch and salt. Turn off the mixer, and add to the butter/egg mixture. Pulse the mixer until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness and fit into the tart mold, pressing evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan trying to have the smoothest dough as possible (you will be filling with a liquid custard, so any wholes can be problematic). Chill for another 20 minutes.
  • Blind Bake the Dough: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Line the chilled crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or dry beans). Bake the crust until it is a matte, pale, golden color, about 15 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights and return to oven until it’s golden all over, another 10 minutes (edges will look a little darker than center, that’s ok). Remove from the oven and cool completely. Dough has a tendency to shrink during baking time, that’s normal.
  • To Make the Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, milk, ¼ cup of the dulce de leche and bring to a simmer, whisking until dulce de leche has melted completely.
  • In another bowl, combine sugar, salt, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract; whisk until creamy and smooth.
  • Pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
  • Reduce the temperature of the oven to 325˚F. Carefully pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the filling is just slightly woobly at the center, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove tart from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the remaining ¾ cup dulce de leche over low heat, until smooth and melted (depending on the brand you use, you might want to add a tablespoon or so of water, or heavy cream). Immediately pour the melted dulce de leche over the tart and spread nicely with an off set spatula, covering the entire surface.
  • Chill the tart for at least 1 hour until the dulce de leche is firm. You can prepare this tart up to 2 days ahead of time, and bring to rom temperature about 20 minutes before serving.

A Recipe Passed Me By

Have you ever seen a recipe in a magazine, or newspaper, or cookbook, and marked it with a sticky note with the intentions of making it — tomorrow ? Then life passed you by, and you just didn’t have the time. Sounds familiar? Welcome to my life.

The recipe featured in this post has been in back of my mind for a long time, and it got me thinking …

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who was lamenting how he really let his real love pass him by. He met a lady. They seemed attracted to each other. They started a very interesting conversation. He asked for her number. But he was so afraid of changes, or something new, that when he finally realized how much they clicked, and tried calling her—a few months later, she never answered his e-mail.

Years went by, and he still didn’t forget that lady. Had he called her the day after they met, would his life had changed completely? We’ll never know.

What is the relation between the story of this man and this recipe? Nothing. Nothing at all. But I am just so glad that recipes aren’t like people. If you want to get back to the same recipe, it’ll be there, documented, unchanged. And I may recover the feeling I had at the moment I marked the recipe, full of excitement to cook and bake.

Here is a recipe (adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine) that I have been thinking about for a long time, and life got too busy. Glad it still there.


Triple Caramel Cake 

Serves 8 to 10 people



3 cups heavy cream

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

6 oz. (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch salt

Equipment: one 12-cup bundt or tube pan greased with baking spray.

1- Prepare the Caramel: Pour 2 cups of the cream into a medium saucepan and slowly bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and keep at a bare simmer.

2- Put 1 cup of the sugar in a heavy-based medium saucepan over medium heat. Leave undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and darken. Gently shake the pan to distribute the sugar and to keep the melted sugar from burning. When all has melted and the caramel is a very dark amber, remove from the heat. Carefully add the hot cream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Don’t worry if the caramel hardens; it will melt as the sauce boils. Return the pan to the heat and keep the sauce at a gentle boil for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is cool. Measure 1 cup of the caramel to add to the cake batter and refrigerate the rest.

3- Prepare the Cake: Heat the oven to 325°F. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and the remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold the dry ingredients into the butter and eggs alternately with the reserved 1 cup caramel, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients

4- Bake the Cake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan

and bake until a skewer comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set on a rack for about 10 minutes and then unmold and let cool completely on the rack. Bring the rest of the caramel sauce to room temperature. When the cake is cool, glaze it by drizzling half of the remaining caramel sauce over the top

5- Whip the remaining 1 cup cream until it holds firm peaks. Fold in the last third of the caramel gently, leaving streaks visible. Serve with the cake.

Apple Cake for Thanksgiving

Apple Cake for Thanksgiving

If you are looking for dessert ideas to make for Thanksgiving, but don’t have tons of time to invest, I have a great suggestion for you: Apple Cake.

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table (she is simply amazing!), this Apple Cake is the answer to all of your dessert problems, and cravings too.

This time of year, you will find a bonanza of apples to choose from, but whenever I bake with apples, I like to stick to Golden Delicious, it’s my safest choice.

Golden Delicious Apple

Fuji apples also bake beautiful desserts. Feel free to be adventures, especially if you go apple picking! And feel free to try a variation of apples (in fact, Dorie Greenspan encourages the readers to do that).

I love the taste of rum in this cake, but if your costumers (you know who they are) won’t like it that much, feel free to skip rum. My favorite way of serving this cake is slightly warm, about an hour out of the oven, with a scoop of caramel ice cream on the side, but even the day after, this cake is delicious in every way.



 Apple Cake


Serves 6 to 8


¾ cup (100g) all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

3 apples (preferably Golden Delicious, or see note)

2 large eggs

¾ cup (135g) sugar

3 tablespoons dark rum

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  1. Center a rack on the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  4. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1 to 2 – inch chunks.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they are foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla.
  6. Whisk in half of the flour and, when it is incorporated, add half of the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour, and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather than thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit, so that they are coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan, and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s even.
  7. Place the pan on a baking sheet and into the oven and bake, until the top of the cake is lightly golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Carefully run a knife around the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool until it’s just slightly warm or at room temperature.
  10. To serve, carefully remove from the bottom of the springform pan and place the cake on a serving dish.


See more here!


Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

Think pink!


I love rhubarb and always try to create new recipes to use it, but I have to admit that this classic is—and will always be—my number one favorite way of using this vegetable!

It’s a vegetable after all, from the buckwheat and garden sorrel family and the stalk is quite tart, which is the beauty of it.

I couldn’t help sharing this recipe that I learned from my sister in law (who is a great cook and a great host!) Leslie Riback.

Happy moment: lovely ladies of the family; start from left: me, Leslie Riback, Gabby Riback (her daughter), and Bianca Laila (my daughter)

Happy moment: lovely ladies of the family; start from left: me, Leslie Riback, Gabby Riback (her daughter), and Bianca Laila (my daughter)

She told me she has been making this recipe for many years and when she brought it to a party recently I had to ask for the recipe.

Baking in the oven. Almost ready!

Baking in the oven. Almost ready!

I tweaked just a little bit, but the recipe is very much adapted by her version. Happy baking!



Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Serves 8 to 10


For the Crust:

3 cups all purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

2 ½ sticks (10oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces

About ½ cup iced water


For the Filling:

3 cups rhubarb

2 cups strawberries

Zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

4 tablespoons tapioca starch

7 tablespoons flour

Pinch salt

1 ¼ cups (285g) sugar

1 whole egg beaten, for glazing


Equipment: one round 9-inch pie pan


  • Make the Pie Crust: Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse. Add butter and shortening and beat just until it looks like a coarse sand. With the machine on, gradually add iced water, enough to start bringing dough together.
  • Scrape the dough onto a floured surface and gather into a ball. Cut in half, flatten each into a disk, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before using. (Dough can also be prepared up to 5 days ahead of time, or 1 month ahead and frozen.)
  • Prepare the Filling: Cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces.
  • Wash and hull strawberries and cut them in half (not fours or fruit releases too much water). Place fruit on a large bowl and stir. Add lemon zest and ginger as well.
  • Stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add to the cut up fruit. Fold carefully into the fruit, making sure you scrape all dry ingredients on the bottom of the bowl. Warning: mix fruit with dry ingredients just before ready to place inside the crust, or, the fruit will start macerating in sugar and releasing liquid before baking.
  • Assemble the Pie: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before rolling, so that it becomes malleable. On a lightly floured surface, roll the first piece of 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 onto the pie pan. 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.
  • Pour the fruit filling onto the unbaked pie crust and spread as evenly as possible.
  • Roll out the top crust into a circle, and transfer to the top of the mold, pressing against the bottom crust in an attractive way with your fingers, then trim the overhang from both crusts. Make sure the two crusts are securely sealed together. Cut 4 slits with a pairing knife in the center to vent while baking. Chill for at least 20 minutes before baking.
  • Place the pie on a sheet pan, and bake on the center rack of the oven until the top looks lightly brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, brush the top with egg wash, and return the tart to the oven, until the crust is gorgeously brown, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Sprinkle just some sugar on top (about 1 tablespoon) and bake for yet another 15 minutes, total of 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Pie should be served slightly warm. (If you want to bake one day ahead, simply let it cool completely, loosely wrap it in plastic and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before serving, warm in a 250˚F for 30 minutes, and let it cool again at room temperature for another 30 minutes.)
I guarantee this is what your pan looks like when you make this pie!

I guarantee this is what your pan looks like when you make this pie!

Dulce de Leche and Coconut Roulade


Dulce de Leche is present in all of cuisines of Latin America. From Chile to Venezuela, Argentina to Brazil. In fact, there is an unofficial rivalry between who invented dulce de leche: Argentineans from the region of La Paila claim the glory, and we Brazilians, also fight for the title. It is true, especially to the state of Minas Gerais, in the heart of Brazil’s dairy country. As I am from Rio, I never paid that much attention. Perhaps, this kind of competition matters very little to most cooks—myself included—as it is what you can do with dulce de leche that matters most. Like this Roulade! Indulge!

Serves 6 to 8

For the Cake:

5 eggs, separated

Pinch salt

¾ cup (105g) flour, sifted

½ cup + 1 tablespoon (125g) sugar


To Soak the Cake:

1 cup coconut milk, heated and cooled (to soak the cake)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Filling:

2 cups (600g) store bought dulce de letche

½ cup (40g) unsweetened grated coconut


For the Glaze:

½ cup heavy cream

5.3 oz (150g) (about ½ cup) dulce de leche


Equipment: 12X18X1 inch sheet cake pan greased with butter, lined with parchment paper and greased again (do not let the paper go up the sides of the pan). Have a clean kitchen towel and sugar handy.


  • Prepare the Cake: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of salt and start beating until the whites start to foam and rise. Gradually add the sugar and beat until they become a firm meringue reaching soft peaks, about 4 minutes.
  • In another bowl, lightly whisk the yolks together. Gently scoop one third of the meringue and fold with the yolks. Now scrape the lightened yolks onto the meringue, and fold everything together using a large rubber spatula. Mix in the flour, and fold carefully, rubbing the sides and the bottom center of the mold, making sure there are no pockets of flour. The cake will deflate a little—that’s normal, but it should still look fluffily.
  • Pour the cake batter onto the prepared sheet pan, and spread out evenly with an off set spatula. Bake in the oven until it looks very lightly golden brown, and uniformly puffed, about 12-16 minutes. (Attention: If you over bake, even by a few minutes, the cake will dry out and become un-rollable.)
  • Meanwhile, Prepare the Coconut Milk: In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk to a low boil then let it cool completely. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest 2 minutes inside the pan while you prepare the wet towel: wet a kitchen towel completely, twist, and remove excess water. Stretch on a clean counter. Invert the cake onto the towel, remove the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. If the edges are slightly dry, trim it. Let it cool at room temperature.
  • Soak the Cake: Brush the cake with coconut milk.
  • Spread the Filling: In a bowl, mix together the dulce de leche with the coconut.
  • Using an off set spatula, spread the filling across the entire cake.
  • Roll the Cake: Using the towel to help you, gently lift and roll the cake, starting with the long side farthest from you and finish so that the seam is on the bottom. Trim the two outer sides to make a clean cut. Transfer to a rack.
  • Glaze the Cake: Put the dulce de leche in a bowl. In a medium saucepan heat the heavy cream; pour onto the dulce de leche and whisk well. Pour over the rolled cake and carefully transfer to a rectangular plate. Serve at room temperature.



Cashew Fruit Sorbet

Cashew Fruit Sorbet

Picking fresh cashew fruit at Rio's farmer's market

Picking fresh cashew fruit at Rio’s farmer’s market

Don’t think that cashew is too exotic of a fruit. Buying the frozen pulp is as easy as any other frozen pulp and making this recipe at home is a great way to invoke a carioca getaway!

Cashew Fruit Sorbet

Cashew Fruit Sorbet

Makes 1 quart of ice cream


¼ teaspoon gelatin powder

1 tablespoon plus 1 cup (250 ml) water

1 ¼ cups (265g) sugar

2 tablespoons (50g) light corn syrup

2 cups (500ml) cashew fruit pulp

Few drops of lime or lemon juice

  • In a small bowl mix the gelatin with 1 tablespoon of water and soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the remaining 1 cup of water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the gelatin. Allow the syrup to cool at room temperature.
  • Whisk in the cashew fruit. Taste and adjust with a few drops of lemon juice. Chill overnight.
  • Run the mixture through an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it becomes creamy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the ice cream into a plastic container (take the time to enjoy some now, freshly out of the machine is my favorite time to eat ice cream). Cover with a tight lid and reserve in the freezer for up to 1 month.


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Chocolate Cupuacú Pudding

Chocolate Cupuacú Pudding


Cupuaçu is a fruit that grows in the Amazon and is in the same family as the cacao. The pulp is removed from the seeds and then used in cooking. For me, its scent recalls the exotic perfumes of the Amazon. Cupuaçu’s taste is quite hard to describe, but it falls somewhere between a banana and white chocolate, with a tang at the end.

Most likely, you will find cupuaçu being sold in the US in a pasteurized and frozen form. I like to buy it directly from or whenever I see it in the freezer of Brazilian and Latin specialty stores. When using, I drain the water accumulated in the bag and try to use just the pulp (that helps the pastry cream to become less runny).

Serves 8


For the Chocolate Crumble:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

¼ cup almond flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup + 2 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature


For the Cupuacu Layer:

1 cup whole milk

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour, sifted

2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted

2/3 cup (140 g) cupuaçu pulp, thawed


For the Chocolate Layer:

½ pound (225g) semi sweet chocolate (55 to 65 %)

1 ¼ cup heavy cream

Equipment: 8 wine glasses or glass ramekins


Prepare the Chocolate Crumble:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the chocolate crumble ingredients together until it resembles a coarse meal.
  • Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake until it dries, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating once.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and let cool at room temperature. (You can prepare it up to 2 days ahead of time and keep it in a plastic container covered with a tight-fitting lid in a cool and dry room temperature.)

Prepare the Cupuaçu Pastry Cream:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they become pale and yellow. Add the flour and cornstarch and whisk until blended and thick.
  • Gently drizzle some of the hot milk into the egg yolks to prevent curdling, then add the remaining milk. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan, and cook over very low heat, whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), until it takes on a custard’s consistency, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Immediately scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and, while it’s still hot, whisk in the cupuaçu pulp. The custard will get a little runny once the fruit is mixed in. Cool at room temperature, stirring it occasionally with a spatula. Wait until the cream is thoroughly cooled, to pour it into the glasses (this way it won’t fog up the glasses with steam).
  • Fill each glass with about ¼ cup of the cupuaçu cream (my favorite tool for this task in a pastry bag). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before adding the ganache.

Prepare the Chocolate Ganache:

  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a stainless steel bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Stir the mixture carefully with a rubber spatula starting from the center of the bowl, gradually incorporating the whole mixture until it’s only just blended. Don’t over mix it or the ganache will break. Let it cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula- you don’t want to pour a hot ganache on top of the cupuaçu cream.
  • Transfer the ganache to a disposable pastry bag or zip-top bag with the corner cut.
  • Carefully squeeze the chocolate ganache over the cupuacu cream and tap the side of the glasses to make sure there are no pockets of air. Chill the glasses in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  • Remove them from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with the crumble.

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