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Pumpkin-Coconut Balls (Beijinho de Abóbora com Coco)


I love to live in the US, but I especially love to be here at this time of year! It’s so wonderful to experience the preparations for Thanksgiving, to watch the beautiful change of fall colors, and to eat all sorts of pumpkin recipes!!

Pumpkin is an ingredient that I really enjoy, and it is great to be able to share some new uses of it based on my Brazilian cooking background.

Pumpkin and coconut is a very popular (and super delicious!) combination of ingredients in Brazilian cuisine. We make cakes, pies, ice cream, compotes and so on using this mixture.

So my Pumpkin-Coconut Balls are inspired in another Brazilian dessert: the “Beijinho” (translates to “Little Kisses”) which is a Coconut Ball. These kinds of sweets - rolled small balls - are commonly served at birthday parties in Brazil and everyone loves them! I think that the greatest advantage of serving these for large groups is the clean-up: no plates, serving utensils, forks or spoons are necessary – and that makes it a very practical idea for Thanksgiving. I think that the traditional pies have to be at the Thanksgiving table, but these could be a fun add-on to the dessert table. I guarantee it will be a hit!

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Bonbon Pie (Torta de Bombom Sonho de Valsa)


My Bonbon Pie was created around one very popular Brazilian chocolate candy named “Sonho de Valsa”. If either you are from or have been to Brazil, chances are that you know and love “Sonho de Valsa”.

This bonbon has a rich filling made of cashew cream, with a thin crunchy layer of wafer around it and another thin layer of silky milk chocolate covering it all. It is my favorite piece of candy and I used to always bring a few bags of “Sonho de Valsa” back with me when I visited home. Now, thanks to Amazon I can order online and always have it available – which can be seriously dangerous since I cannot resist but having one every day.

My Bonbon Pie is incredibly decadent! It has a crunchy crust on the bottom, topped with rich custard, pieces of “Sonho de Valsa”, smooth ganache and creamy whipped meringue. Each layer complement each other and, just like the chocolate candy “Sonho de Valsa”, I think it is so hard not to fall to the temptation: when I make this pie I have a slice every day! In fact, I had a large slice after lunch today. It was worth every single one of the calories!

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Quindim (Quindão)


This bright yellow and decadent custard has a curious name: Quindim. This super popular Brazilian dessert has its origins in Portugal – where sweets are commonly made of a mixture of egg yolks and sugar. The coconut was probably added during the 17th century by the African slaves (this explains the name of the dessert, which comes from the Bantu language). Portugal and some African regions have an enormous influence in Brazilian cuisine – and that is awesome!! 

Often baked in a cupcake pan, my Quindim is a recipe that I got from my mom and, technically, it should be called Quindão because it is baked in a large dish and served in slices.

Well, whatever you call it or wherever it comes from, one thing is for sure: this is delicious and easy to make! If you look at the picture closely, you will notice that there is a crust on the bottom of the custard. The great surprise is that the crust forms naturally on the bottom (or actually on the top, but it becomes bottom once the dessert is flipped). This crust adds an extra layer of texture without any added work! So we are talking about a 5 ingredients delight that all the effort that it takes is to place all ingredients in the blender, and then in the oven. Voila! Easy like that. Serve small slices, since this is a fairly rich dessert. Enjoy!

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Brigadeiro (Brazilian Chocolate Truffle)


Brigadeiro is the name given to the traditional Brazilian chocolate truffle, or bonbon. It is probably the most common sweet treat on birthday parties in Brazil, and it is a favorite among kids and adults! Decadent and creamy, this super-easy-to-make chocolate dessert seems like a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. 

To give it a “Valentine’s Day look”, I rolled the balls in sprinkles that came in the valentines colors: pink, red and white. They turned out super cute! 

If you want to impress your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, without much effort at all you can make this bonbon and enjoy the extra kisses you will get later ;)

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Avocado Brigadeiros (Brigadeiro de Abacate)


Rich and sweet with a hint of lime, my Avocado Brigadeiros are super simple to make and definitely a crowd pleaser! The famous Brazilian chocolate bonbons called Brigadeiros were the sweets that inspired me to make this avocado version. Guess what else served as an inspiration for me? The Incredible Hulk – yes, he did! I know there is nothing sweet about Hulk’s personality, but my son really wanted a superhero party for his 4th birthday this year, so I created several different kinds of flavored Brigadeiros to go with the party theme. Of course that somehow the Incredible Hulk Brigadeiro would HAVE to be green! That’s how my delicious Avocado Brigadeiro was born! Kids and adults loved it, and my husband even said it was his favorite out all the other flavors I made!! Now, if you look at the picture above, you can definitely notice that its looks are classy enough to go with any party, and not necessary with just a crazy kid's party. So make it for your next event, but be sure to eat in no longer than 48 hours after the preparation time. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Flan


Pumpkin is a very popular ingredient in cakes and pies, but not many people know how wonderful it tastes when added to a flan. In Brazil, pumpkin flan is just yet another variation of a classic dessert. I like to think that anything goes well when mixed with a classic flan recipe, so it could not be any different for this one. Creamy, sweet, with a hint of cinnamon, this Brazilian dessert is a must try for pumpkin lovers. Serve with freshly shaved coconut flakes on top, adding a twist on this delicious and unusual fall recipe. I hope you enjoy!

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Triple Berry Pie (Torta Bombom de Morango, Framboesa e Mirtilo)


Inspired by the Brazilian strawberry-chocolate bonbon, which has a layer of custard surrounding the fruit before it is dipped in the chocolate; my Triple Berry Pie is a deconstructed bonbon with rich home-made custard on the bottom, decadent chocolate ganache in the center and fresh mixed berries on top. It is crunchy, creamy and fresh. In Brazil we rarely have blueberries and raspberries available, but the very American triple berry combination is fantastic over the custard and ganache! Also, I have to mention that I created this pie especially for my husband’s uncle (Uncle Steve Miller) who is crazy about desserts with chocolate! His reaction after his first bite was awesome: he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and released a long “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!” as if he had suddenly tasted a little piece of heaven. So after that kind of reaction, I thought I should share this recipe with all of you!

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Pecan Flan


I took a break of almost four weeks from creating and posting recipes to work exclusively on the final steps of my cookbook. I have to confess that I really missed cooking and I could not wait to share my next recipe with you. Since I am currently in Brazil (I traveled here to mainly shoot the cover of my book) I thought I should share a recipe from my childhood. This dessert brings me back the memories of the days I used to spend in company of my good friend Geo, whose mom makes the best Pecan Flan in the world! Smooth just like a regular flan, this recipe has a little surprise: the chopped pecans form a slightly crunchy crust on the bottom. How? It happens naturally: the pecans tend to float towards the top during baking time; and when the flan is unmolded, they end up at the bottom forming a crust. This flan is one of the best desserts I have ever had growing up and I want to thank Geo and Tia Mara for sharing this delight with me, so I could share with you. Enjoy with your family and friends. 

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Avocado and Candied Cashew Pie


This unique combination is worth trying! In Brazil, avocados are more commonly used in desserts.

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Passion Fruit Pie (Torta Mousse de Maracujá)


Light in texture, with a nice balance between sweetness and tartness, Passion Fruit Pie is a traditional Brazilian recipe, popular all over the country. In Brazil, the word “mousse” is frequently added to the dessert title because the texture of the filling is just as light as a mousse. The dough is very simple to make and it adds a nice crunchy bite to the combination. Sweet, tart, light, fluffy and crunchy, this pie has it all! If you haven’t tried passion fruit in desserts yet, I highly recommend this one. This is passion fruit at its best. Enjoy!

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White Chocolate Flan with Peppermint Caramel Sauce (Pudim de Chocolate Branco com Calda de Caramelo e Hortelã)


It is no secret that flan is my favorite dessert. I love all sorts of flavors and variations, and I really wanted to create a recipe using the traditional flavors of the holidays. So after a lot of thought I came up with a recipe for a White Chocolate Flan with Peppermint Sauce, and I am proud to say it turned out exactly how I had dreamed it would: rich, smooth, and with just a touch of peppermint flavor.

This dessert translates all the amazing sweet tastes of Christmas! In fact, it is even more special to me because I was able to add some flavors of the Holidays in the United States to a traditional dessert from my country: Brazil. Merry Christmas friends! Feliz Natal amigos! I hope a slice of my flan brings a smile to your face this holiday season!

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Lime Meringue Flan (Pudim de Claras)


I grew up eating this delightful dessert: my mom used to make it a lot when I was a little girl growing up in Brazil. For me, this dessert tastes just like my childhood: sweet, with a hint of lime zest (to make it more exciting), and extremely light in texture! One more awesome thing: it has only 4 ingredients (and they can all be found at your regular grocery store - yeah!!! This time, I am not sending you to international markets to find ingredients). I made this family recipe for a small gathering with friends at my house, and they sure enjoyed it! I hope you enjoy it too!

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Dulce de Leche and Coconut Layer Cake


This “white canvas” cake has decadent layers of dulce de leche and coconut custard. The meringue that gives it an all white look is flavored with fresh lime and it breaks the richness of the fillings beautifully. The other great thing about it is that it can be decorated to fit any party theme! Check out the pictures of the cute party for my son’s third birthday and how easily this cake became a “construction site” cake! It was so much fun!

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Cheesecake with Guava Sauce


Guava and cheese is a traditional combination in Brazilian desserts, and cheesecake is an American staple. So this “marriage” of flavors works, again, very well for this American-Brazilian recipe! The slightly tangy flavor of the sauce compliments the richness of the cake. I hope you enjoy!

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Tres Leches Cake with Berries and Cream


Tres Leches is a very popular cake recipe in Mexico and Central America. Very light in texture, this deliciously moist cake received its name because it is soaked overnight in three milks (tres leches): heavy cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. My version has freshly made cream top and berries soaked in orange liquor. Irresistible!

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Strawberry Shortcake – Brazilian Style (Torta Gelada de Morangos)


This Brazilian-style Strawberry Shortcake has a decadent layer of home-made condensed milk custard. Impossible to resist!

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Banana-Caramel Meringue Pie


Dulce de Leche, bananas and meringue are a delicious and rich combination, but the lime zest adds a citrous bite and makes it irresistible! This pie is super easy and super delicious!!! Serve with vanilla ice cream on the side, if you wish. 

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Coconut Flan


It takes only 5 ingredients to make this delcious South American delight. Simply delicious!

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Chocolate Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Sauce


Passion fruit and chocolate is a classic combination in Brazilian cuisine, but this chocolate cheesecake has also an unexpected twist: vanilla balsamic! The passion fruit sauce adds a tropical touch to this decadent dessert.

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Valentine’s Day Chocolate and Coconut Layer Cake (Bolo Prestigío para o Dia dos Namorados)


I am not ashamed to say out loud that baking is not my forte in the kitchen. So for that reason, when I decide to get some baking done, I usually use a recipe from a 100% trustworthy source – usually a family member or a friend. This Chocolate and Coconut Layer Cake is a tried and true recipe from my Mom’s kitchen. It is a decadent, rich and delicious cake that my mom has made countless times for the last 20 years, especially for our birthday parties. Since it so rich and decadent, I decided to share it as my dessert suggestion for Valentine’s Day. Of course, I had to add a little color to make it suitable for the occasion (I thought that bright pink would be perfect)! Another great thing about this cake is that it just looks complicated, but it is not! The directions are easy!! The color combination sets the tone and the decorative heart on top took me only 2 minutes to make with a heart-shaped cookie cutter (see the pictures). Well, with all that extra time on your hands you can go get your nails done to look great for your Valentine. Enjoy!

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