Strawberry Short Cake

Okay this may not be a Portuguese old style cake…or is it ?  I will let you decide on that after reading the recipe.  Really if you think about it, eggs happens to be a key ingredient in many Portuguese desserts…so there you go ! Enjoy !

The Cake:

6 or 7 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sifted white flour
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1  cup of white sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of magic baking powder
1 cap full of brandy or Scotch liquor
1 tsp. of Vanilla extract

Custard Cream:

5 large egg yolks
4-5 tbsp. of sugar
4-5 tbsp. of flour
1 tsp. of coconut extract
2 tsp. of lemon rind
2 tsp. of brandy

Fruit topping about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh-cut strawberries
(optional) fresh espresso (at room temperature) 1/2 cup
(optional) kahlua liqueur about 2 or 3 tbsp.

The Method:

1)Making the cake: in a large bowl, crack open 6 eggs, add the water, oil, vanilla, sugar, brandy or scotch.
2)Use electric mixer and mix on med. or med high until frothy (about 7 minutes)
3)Slowly add your dry ingredients: flour, magic baking powder, salt and stir with a wooden spoon.
4)Pour into a bundt cake baking pan that has been greased and floured.
5)Bake for 45 minutes…

Making the custard cream:

1)Whisk 5 or 6 egg yolks with 5 tablespoons of sugar… (save your egg whites for another recipe)
2)Add your coconut extract, your brandy, lemon rind, whisk a bit more than pour into a medium sauce pot on medium low heat.
3)With a wooden spoon slowly add your milk and 1 spoon of flour at time, (if it lumps use your whisk instead)
4)You shall stir slowly until it’s a smooth semi-pudding consistency, about 15 minutes of heating and stirring (more or less).
5)Set to the side. Let it cool for about 10 min.

Now the decorating of the cake:

1)Cut the cake in half horizontally to create a layer cake
2)This is the optional part: (Mix the espresso with the Kahlua and pour over the bottom half )
3)Add the custard on that half to be about 1/2 inch thick.
4)Add the sliced strawberries.
5)Put the other half of the cake on the bottom half.
6)Pour the remaining custard cream over it, it will shield the whole top of the cake . Then add the other half of your strawberries.

As indicated the coffee & Kahlua is purely optional…Feel free to make it as my original way by just using the custard & strawberries !

And there you have it….my most favourite, classic old-fashioned strawberry Custard cake….Even Marie Antoinette would be proud. !




These puffed pastries are so simple to make, they will make your head spin.  I remember my mom making these when I was a little wee girl, I loved rolling out the dough, then I would watch her cut the dough into triangles.  I have not made any new adaptations to these babies, only instead of grand marnier liqueur, I put a shot of good old-fashioned brandy.


1 cup of white unbleached flour (and additional cup for kneading the dough)
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 tbsp. of brandy or Grand Marnier
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 cup safflower oil or light vegetable oil
1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon for dusting on top of the pastries.

The Method:

1) In a med. bowl, add your flour, egg, water, brandy, salt and mix with a wooden spoon.
2) Once it’s been mixed, it will be very sticky and hard to stir, you would need to add more flour and use your hands to round it into a ball.
3)On a cutting board or clean counter, dust some flour, and start to knead to dough, keep it the ball shape as if you are making a pizza. Knead for 5 minutes or until dough is ready to roll out.
4)Roll out the dough with a dusted rolling-pin, roll it out very thin about the thickness of 4 or 5 sheets of paper.
5)Cut into rectangle or triangle shapes, lay them on the plate. In the meantime, add the oil to the frying pan. Put the temperature to medium or my stove has no. 6 on the dial, let it heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Test 1 pastry slice into the pan to see if it’s ready…you’ll know when the pastry is bubbling.
6)Add your pastry triangles or rectangle shapes, let them bubble, about 3 or 4 minutes each side. You want them a very, very light golden white colour.
7)Transfer them to a plate with some paper towel so the oil can be absorbed. Then dust your sugar and cinnamon lightly over top.

These treats are great with milk, coffee or tea. My kids just love these with a glass of milk. One is never enough. Makes a great snack for afterschool or a lunch box treat !

Enjoy and let me know how they turn out !

Mannie 🙂

Bolacha Maria Cake

Bolacha Maria

Hello again,

Besides rice pudding, I love Bolacha Maria cake which is a popular dessert within the Portuguese community. This cookie cake reminds me so much of a Tiramisu because of the layering of the cookies.  Although this recipe was created in 1874 by an English baker, it became popularized in Spain and Portugal, particularly during the Spanish Civil war. The creation of  the cake was  to celebrate the marriage of the Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia with the Duke of Edinburgh. It was to help celebrate an exuberant economy, a symbol of prosperity.   Quite the Victorian dessert, but I made a slight variation shhhhh….I added guess what ?…..some liquer…Kahlua.

The recipe:

1 package  of Bolacha Maria cookies  (use 2-3 rolls of packaged cookies)
2 cups of icing sugar (more or less) (you must taste as you add the sugar)
3 egg yolks
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup of espresso coffee (room temperature)
1 lemon or lime for zest (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tablespoon  of Kahlua
sugar sprinkles – colorful ones and/or blanched sliced  almonds, or crushed hazelnuts are nice toppings as well.

The method:

1) Add your soft butter with egg yokes, and begin mixing with electric mixer, adding  slowly the icing sugar,
2) Add your 3 tablespoons of coffee, and mix then add your tsp. of vanilla extract. Add some Lemon or Lime zest, about 1-2  tsp.
3) Add your tablespoon of  Kahlua and again mix well, taste with your spoon to see if it needs more coffee or sugar, or Kalhua 🙂  (you will need to experiment to your taste buds)
4)Then after your icing is done to your liking, with a paper towel sheet spread some butter over top of your cake plate.  
5)Then you begin dipping your cookies and create the layering process. You would prepare this on a round cake plate.
6) Dip your cookies once to fully wet the cookie, but don’t drench it because it will fall apart when you spread your icing.
7)Start with a cookie in the middle and work your way around it like a flower.
8)With your wooden spoon scoop a lump of icing and begin at the center and spread to the surrounding cookies. Making sure all cookies are covered with the icing.
9)Then alternate each layer so as to overlap the layers.
10)When you get to the top layer, cover the rest of your icing and the sides to cover all parts of the cookies. Then you top with your sprinkles or sliced  almonds or crushed hazelnuts, heck you can even crunch up a cookie and use that instead.

Incidentally, would sir or madame appreciate a spot of tea with a slice of Bolacha Maria?
Enjoy !


Portuguese rice pudding or Arroz doce

It’s starting to get cold outside, winter is almost upon us, I look outside my window and the sky is smokey slate grey, I just want to curl up with a good book. But wait, something is missing….my comforting signature dish, Portuguese rice pudding  arroz doce !!!… I just can’t get enough !!!…to the kitchen I go.
I really enjoy this dish while listening to soft music, a crackling fireplace, relishing the moment.

The ingredients:

3 1/2 cups  of 1  or 2 % Milk
 1  1/4 cup of Aborio (any European named brand) rice
1 cup sugar
1 Lemon skin slice
1 egg yolk (optional)
1/2 cup water and more if necessary.

Yields about 4 to 6 servings

Cooking time will take about 1 1/2 hours – slooooooow cooking.

1) Gather your ingredients, you need to measure about 1 1/4 cups of rice. Wash it in the sieve. then put it into your medium-sized no stick pot.
2) Measure about 1/2 cup of water, add about 1 1/2 cups of milk, add your sugar. Put the heat on at low heat for about 30 minutes, in a covered pot. (Stir intermittently about 10 to 15 min. into the cooking process)
3)As it starts bubbling and thickening, it’s time to add more milk, add about 1/2 cup of milk and stir it slowly. This is a good time to add the lemon slice since this will allow the citrus flavours to slowly fuse with the rice grains and milk. Try to stir the pudding with your wooden spoon every 10 min. to 15 min.  or so ( You really need to spot check this one, so that it doesn’t burn at the bottom.)
4)The last 1/2 hour continue the same stirring action intermittently, and add some more milk, the last 1/2 cup of milk. If you are running low on milk you can substitute with water if you wish. Continue the stirring action, until the consistency it really thick and creamy, have a quick taste test with a spoon, to make sure the rice grains have cooked right through. Total cooking time will take you to about 1 1/2 hours anyway.
5)Once you’re satisfied with the taste of the rice, take it off the heating element to a cool element. Also remember to take out the lemon slice. It’s done it’s job.
6)At this point, this is where the egg does it role. Separate your egg, and only add the yoke to the rice pudding, save the whites from the egg for another recipe. Stir the yoke through and you’ll have a nice off-white golden tone. The pudding will be a nice creamy thick risotto type texture.
6)Pour your rice pudding with the wooden spoon into your oval semi-deep serving dish.
7)Sprinkle your cinnamon sparingly or if you want to get fancy create a design.

Some like it hot and some like it cold. I like it both ways,

And Enjoy