Lucky you, dear readers! What we've got here is a guest recipe and excerpt from the fantastic new book Brazilian Food by Thiago Castanho and Luciana Bianchi.
This is a really lovely book, with photos as vibrant as what I imagine Brazil to be (having never been, it's all imagination for me!). The recipes are accessible, flavorful, and interesting--and exotic. It's a cookbook to dream on, and I think it would make a nice holiday gift!
And, well. Even if none of that intrigued you, the fact is this: the cover features rainbows.
Note: the photo and recipe in this post are used with permission from Brazilian Food by Thiago Castanho & Luciana Bianchi, Firefly Books 2014, $39.95 hardcover.
‘Bolo podre’ com calda de café e tapioca caramelizada
Tapioca pudding with coffee syrup and caramelized tapioca
This is a traditional pudding of the Amazon region. It does not contain wheat but granulated tapioca flakes, usually moistened with coconut milk. We eat it in the morning or late afternoon, but it is always accompanied by a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
* 2 vanilla beans
* 1/2 cup (50 g) unsweetened, finely shredded dried coconut
* 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
* scant 1 cup (200 ml) sweetened condensed milk
* scant 1/2 cup (100 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
* 1 cup (120 g) farinha de tapioca (granulated tapioca) or Farinha de Tapioca substitute (see page 82)
* oil, for greasing
* 2 ¾ oz (80 g) rapadura or unleveled . cup (80 g) dark brown sugar
* 1 cup (250 ml) hot espresso coffee
* unleveled . ¾ cup (100 g) farinha de tapioca (granulated tapioca) or Farinha de Tapioca substitute (see page 82)
* unleveled . ¼ cup (60 g) superfine sugar
1. Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. Put the seeds, bean pods, shredded coconut, and all the milks in a saucepan. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches scalding point. Discard the vanilla bean pods.
2. Put the farinha de tapioca in a large bowl, and add the hot milk mixture. Stir well. Pour the pudding batter into a generously oiled 12 x 4.-inch (30 x 11 cm) loaf pan, and refrigerate it for 3 hours, or until it is firm.
3. To make the coffee syrup, combine the rapadura and . cup (60 ml) of water in a saucepan. Heat for 2 minutes, stirring until the rapadura has dissolved. Add the coffee and remove from the heat.
4. For the caramelized tapioca, combine the farinha de tapioca and sugar in a saucepan, and heat gently, stirring constantly, to melt the sugar. Cook until the caramel is a light golden brown. Pour the mixture into a nonstick baking pan and let cool. Store in an airtight container.
5. Transfer the chilled cake to a serving board, and sprinkle with the caramelized tapioca. Serve in slices, accompanied by a drizzle of coffee syrup.
Tips from Thiago: When pouring the pudding batter into the pan, press it down gently to pack it together and prevent it from falling apart when it is removed from the pan.