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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Red, White and Blueberries

Red, White and Blueberries

What could be more Brazilian-American than Blueberry Coconut Tarts?

I love the spirit surrounding the 4th July Holiday that lingers through the week, the month… It’s summer people! Music by Katie Perry playing on the back round (Fireworks! Of Course!), beaches surrounded by picnic tables, beer, good food and good friends. This recipe (inspired by Sono Bakery in Connecticut) is perfect for this time of year!

Blueberry Coconut Tarts

Blueberry Coconut Tarts


Blueberry Coconut Tarts


Makes five 4-inch fluted tarts


For the Dough:

2 cups (325g) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks, 230g) butter

¼ cup (45g) sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk


For the Filling:

½ cup heavy cream

6 tablespoons coconut milk

2/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries

2 cups (about 180g) unsweetened grated coconut


  • Make The Dough: In a bowl, whisk flour and salt together.
  • 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 egg yolk continue beating, scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once, until the mixture is well blended, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Turn off the mixer, and add flour 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 molds, pressing evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pans trying to have the smoothest dough as possible. Chill for another 20 minutes.
  • Blind Bake the Dough: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Prick the tarelets with a fork. Bake the crust until it is a matte, pale, golden color, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Dough has a tendency to shrink during baking time, that’s normal.
Blind baked tarts

Blind baked tarts

  • Prepare the Filling: In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, coconut milk, sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes then remove from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Stir the vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Fold in the blueberries and coconut.


  • Divide the blueberry mixture among the pastry shells 7394 and bake at 350˚F until the coconut is lightly toasted and the juices are bubbling around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cook completely before serving.
Ready to eat! Happy Summer!

Ready to eat! Happy Summer!

Chocolate Custard Pie

Chocolate Custard Pie

Chocolate Custard Pie

Chocolate Custard Pie

Chocolate Custard Pie

I baked this triple chocolate heaven for a BBQ over a friend’s house this past weekend, and the tart was gone in a jiff! The crust is based on a layer of chocolate graham crust, with a silky interior baked custard, and a shiny glaze on top. Kids loved it and wanted to take photos with the tart! Adults alike…

This pie really is a celebration of summer, kids, friends, and chocolate—all of my favorite things! Here is to another great recipe!

Serves 8 to 10

For the Crust:

1 cup chocolate graham crumbs (about nine 5X2” crackers, I used Nabisco brand)

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


For the Filling:

1 ½ cups heavy cream

9 oz (255g) semi sweet chocolate, chopped finely

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For the Glaze:

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 oz (30g) semi sweet chocolate

1 tablespoon warm water


Equipment: 9-inch pie pan

  • Prepare the Crust: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crumbs and sugar. Process until well combined then slowly drizzle in the butter until the crumbs are uniformly moist.


  • Using your hands and fingers, press the mixture into the pan, patting an even layer over the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan).


  •  Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes then transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Prepare the Filling: In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium heat. Pour over chopped chocolate in a bowl and let it stand for 2 minutes, allowing the heat of the cream to melt the chocolate (make sure the chocolate is chopped really finely to facilitate melting process). Using a rubber spatula, gently stir, starting from the center and slowly incorporating the whole mixture. Congratulations! You have just made a ganache! Let it cool for 10 minutes.
Say Ganache!

Say Ganache!

  • Whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and small pinch of salt and stir into ganache, mix well. Pour into cooled crust. Bake until filling is just set, about 20 minutes (center will continue to set as the tart cools). Cool completely for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. You can prepare the tart up to this point up to 5 days ahead of time and keep wrapped in the fridge.
  • Prepare the Glaze: Bring tart to room temperature at least 1 hour before glazing. Bring cream to boil and remove from the heat. Pour over chopped chocolate and make a ganache again (now this time, because it’s such a small amount of cream, you may want to chop the chocolate even finer). This in out with warm water and pour over the tart, tilting and rotating, making sure glaze reaches all around the pie. Let it sit for another hour before serving.
Alex, 11 years old, has his eyes on the pie!

Alex, 11 years old, has his eyes on the pie!

Luiza, 13 years old, ready to devour!

Luiza, 13 years old, ready to devour!

Mom Daniela and daughter Isabella enjoying a piece of chocolate pie

Mom Daniela and daughter Isabella enjoying a piece of chocolate pie

Silky, creamy interior

Silky, creamy interior

More beautiful kids, the light of our future! On the left, Kevin, 7 years old (love his fire red hair) and Isabella!

More beautiful kids, the light of our future! Isabella, 4 and Kevin, 7.





Molten Brigadeiro Cake

Molten Brigadeiro Cake


For the Brigadeiro

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces 70 percent dark chocolate, chopped

For the Cake
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for molds


Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Make the Brigadeiro: In a heavy saucepan, place the condensed milk, cocoa powder, and chocolate, and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. When the mixture begins to bubble and the chocolate melts, reduce the heat to low and continue whisking for another 3-5 minutes until the mixture has thickened like fudge. You should be able to tilt the pan and the whole batter will slide, leaving the sticky fudge on the bottom of the pan. Slide the batter into a large bowl without scraping it. You don’t want to incorporate any of the thick residues on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Prepare the cake batter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Pour into brigadeiro and whisk vigorously until smooth. At first the mixture will totally curdle and break. You will think this recipe cannot possibly work, but keep whisking constantly until the mixture comes together again emulsified.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yolks, salt, sugar and vanilla. Add into the brigadeiro and whisk until homogeneous. Add the flour and mix just until blended, using a spatula.

Pour the batter into foil cups filling them almost to the top (leave about ¼ inch). You can prepare the recipe up to this point and refrigerate for 5 days.

Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes, or until the edges are firm but the center is still soft. Invert onto a dessert plate. Serve with ice cream (pistachio, ginger, coconut or vanilla are all flavors that work well with this dessert).

NOTE: A word of advice about this molten cake: butter and flour the pan really well. It’s so frustrating when the cake doesn’t come out of the pan properly, and part of the cake is still clinging to the pan. So don’t rely on a thin coating of grease spray; use soft butter—not melted—and shake off the excess flour.

Apricot Cake Gloriously Delicious

Apricot Cake, Gloriously Delicious


Apricots are now having their run in the markets and showing up in seasonal cooking and baking. But I guess the leading role for apricots have always been jams and marmalades. Dense with chunks of fruit, apricot marmalade is one of the best ways of preserving such wonderful produce, something I have happily prepared a few times before.

Apricot is a beautiful fruit, with summer orange-red skin and orange flesh. Its mild, undistinctive flavor, vaguely reminiscent of plums, peaches and nectarines, means that it is hard not to fall in love with them, especially now, at the peak of their season.

This summer, I wanted to come up with a recipe that preserves the fresh taste of apricots, but altering the flavor profile. My first thought was to use the apricots fresh, not only do they stand up for baking, but they release their sweetness in delicate ways. Then I decided to go the cake route.

Fruit cake is an old concept, but the beauty of this cake is the simple alchemy of butter, sugar and eggs. Mixed with apricots, this cake is magnificent.

I love vanilla extract, but then I also love almond extract, so I added a little of both. You can go stronger with dark rum or perhaps Grand Marnier. Really, any fruit liquor with nice flavor will do. I like to make the batter using an electric mixer, but you can also use a food processor. Just don’t over process once you add the flour, or the cake will be though. You can bake this in a large round cake mold as I suggest in the recipe, or individual ones.

All in all, my apricot cake was simple and delicious, a bit less sweet than the traditional ones, but just as buttery, rich and compelling.

Apricot Cake

Apricot Cake


Apricot Cake


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Small pinch table salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup, plus ½ tablespoon sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

3 medium-ripe apricots, pitted, and cut into ½-inch wedges


Equipment: one 9-inch springform pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F with a rack in the center. Lightly coat a springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and ¾ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
  5. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, spreading evenly with an offset spatula, then scatter the apricots over. Sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon of sugar on top.
  6. Bake until the cake is golden-brown and the top is firm but tender (cake will rise over the fruit, and that’s okay), 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and cool to room temperature.

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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