I am very excited to share this recipe, because it’s a very traditional Brazilian delicacy, one that brought me fond memories. Full disclosure: as a child, I wasn’t too wild about coconut, the texture and the way the shredded pieces got into my teeth distracted from its flavor. Thankfully I grew out of that phase, and now embrace the fruit’s unique flavor and texture with the appreciation it deserves. Cocada is a popular street food, sold in markets and coffee joints as small pieces wrapped in a paper napkin. You can take a look at them here. This version, from the book “The Brazilian Kitchen“, will produce a softer version, to be spooned out of a baking dish, or – if baked a little longer, as I did – a sort of blondie with intense coconut flavor. Absolutely perfect for a spring or summer day, it might very well bring a blast of sunshine to your deepest winter.
COCADA DE FORNO (BAKED COCONUT)
(published with permission from Chef Leticia Schwartz)
8 Tbs butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup sweetened, condensed milk
1 Tbs rum (optional)
1 + 1/2 cups grated coconut (unsweetened)
2 Tbs all-purpose flour, sifted
Heat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 24-oz baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
Place the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat them together at medium speed until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Add the coconut milk, the condensed milk, and the rum (if using), and continue to mix until well blended (about one more minute). Add the coconut and mix until incorporated. Fold the flour with a rubber spatula, and spread the batter into the prepared baking dish. You can make the batter ahead of time, keeping it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Bake in the 350 F oven until the top looks golden brown, the edges are set, but the center is slightly jiggly, about 20 minutes (or if you prefer a firmer consistency, bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes). Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve with a scoop of lemon sorbet for a magical experience…
to print the recipe, click here
About “The Brazilian Kitchen“: As you may remember, I’ve been on a self-induced cookbook-starvation-diet lately. I bought this book as a gift for a dear friend, and had it at my bedside table for a few days. I knew I had to say goodbye to it, but Leticia’s writing and her recipes were so enticing that I decided to photocopy some (many) pages. Well, I didn’t have to: Phil ordered one for me! So, that explains how a person fully resolved not to buy cookbooks still manages to increase her collection… 😉
I could not be happier with my gift! Leticia covers many of my favorite Brazilian recipes, some of which I’ve featured in the blog: moqueca, chicken soup, black beans, pao de queijo, and brigadeiros. Speaking of brigadeiros, she includes three recipes for them: the traditional chocolate, and two tasty departures from the classic, coconut and pistachio brigadeiros. Dreamy delight…
You will also find recipes for many other Brazilian classics: acaraje‘ (bean fritters), xim xim de galinha (chicken, shrimp, peanut and cashew stew), vatapa‘ (fish puree with coconut milk), quindim (coconut custard cake).
But, what I like the most about “The Brazilian Kitchen” is that Leticia goes beyond the classics, and brings very creative dishes to the table, like “caipirinha risotto”, a playful take on the great Italian dish, using the ingredients of Brazil’s signature drink: pinga and lime juice.
Want some more teasers? Red pepper and Brazil nut pesto, sole with coconut ginger sauce, tilapia with acai’ sauce, dulce de leche molten cake, Passion fruit cannoli… many wonderful temptations to cook and enjoy!
If you are curious about Brazilian cooking, this book is a must-have, so help the economy with a click... And, if you want to see Chef Leticia in action (she is also a great teacher!) jump here for a demonstration on making cod fritters.
Leticia, thank you for allowing me to publish your recipe, and I look forward to your next cookbook!
ONE YEAR AGO: Two-Stage Risotto
TWO YEARS AGO: Life is a matter of taste (and I still miss you, David Rosengarten!)