Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chocolate Trifle

On the previous post I talked about favourite desserts and since we are on Holiday Season, I’ll continue posting some of my favourite dishes for this time of the year.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Pavê or Chocolate Trifle is a must have in my family’s Christmas and New Year’s dinners. Since I’ve being making this for a long time now, I think I’ve managed to put together a pretty good recipe that I’d like to share with you!

This is a recipe that allows you to get creative! You can substitute the chocolate layer with anything you want; I have seen from the most traditional versions, with peaches or pineapples, to peanuts and coffee flavours.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Chocolate Trifle – Pavê de Chocolate


- 1 package of sponge fingers (about 300g - 400g)
- 395g of condensed milk
- Milk (Use the condensed tin or box to measure one amount in milk)
- 3 yolks
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 300g of dark chocolate
- 300 ml of thickened cream
- Brandy

Whipped cream

- 300 ml of thickened cream (make sure it is very cold)
- 2 full tbsp of caster sugar


1 – Combine the condensed milk, vanilla extract, milk and yolk, and take it to medium heat stirring well until it is a creamy homogeneous mixture, reserve.
2 – Melt chocolate in Bain Marie and add the thickened cream and brandy. Whisk until smooth, reserve.
3 – In a separate bowl, add some milk and brandy to dip the sponge fingers before assembling the Trifle.
4 – Start layering the Trifle starting with the sponge fingers, then custard and lastly the ganache.
5 – Finish with a layer of sponge fingers and take it to the fridge while preparing the whipped cream.
6 – Beat cream with the sugar until peaks are formed.
7 – Decorate the Trifle with whipped cream and chocolate, as you please.

Have you ever tried this recipe before? I would love to know what you think.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Dee ;)

Friday, December 20, 2013

"What is your favourite dessert?"

Since I have a bit of a “sweet tooth”, I'm often asked: "What is your favourite dessert?"

That is a very hard question, I always go back to the simple recipes I grew up having but I'm also always changing my mind about that. I guess I haven’t fallen hopelessly in love yet. Besides, my knowledge of the most traditional and famous desserts from around the world still is very limited.

Growing up, I used to reject everything that I thought I wouldn't like. Sometimes without even knowing what it was I couldn't be bothered to even think of trying. I was quite happy in my comfort zone, just eating what I knew; but that wasn't healthy.

I remember one time when my sister told me: “How can you be a chef if you don’t eat all of this stuff?!”

That really hit me, how could I create new things if I didn't even know the taste and combinations I could make with all these various ingredients?

So I tried to “force” myself into trying new flavours, but while living in Brazil it was hard, I always ended up eating the same thing over and over again.

Moving to Australia really changed my life, in more ways than I could have ever imagined; it opened my mind to whole new world.

Arriving here I was introduced to a huge variety of cuisines and I knew it would be hard to try some of them, but since now I had to cook everything myself and the ingredients here were different, I started to open up to this new lifestyle.

I have eaten things I loved and things I don’t even want to see again - sometimes I believe it’s best not knowing what it is before trying.

There is still a lot of things I don’t feel comfortable trying, and some that I do try but wouldn't have chosen myself (you know when you go out with that friend that eats everything and sort of makes you eat too?), but now I believe I am more open minded to maybe consider – something I wasn't before.

So, what is my favourite dessert?

For now, I can say it is my version of Pavê or Chocolate Trifle, but I can honestly say that now I am much more open to try new food and maybe change my list of favourites.

I am thankful to my sister for saying that to me one day, but now I understand that I don’t have to like everything in order to create. I just have to try and be aware that they exist! You never know, one day you might see yourself cooking with that ingredient that you never liked and create something incredible.

Now I would like to know your opinion and what desserts you think I should try.

Here’s to being open for the new!


Dee. ;)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas and New Year’s are coming!

Can’t wait to be sharing Christmas Eve’s Supper with my folks! Every year in my family we have a traditional holiday dinner with lots of Brazilian dishes.

This includes:

Turkey;  Rice;  Beans; Farofa (Cassava Flour); Codfish “cake”; Potato Salad; Leek and Mushroom Quiche.

And my favourite part of the night: DESSERTS

Chocolate Triffle; Lemon Tart; “Rainbow” gelatine; Sweet French Toast.

These are mandatory for a Berlandi-Vale family dinner. =)

It is normally my responsibility to prepare the Quiche and the desserts, which I love.

Over the next few posts, I will be teaching you how to prepare some of my favourite dishes.

I hope you are hungry  :D

Let’s start with the classics.

French Toast – Rabanada

This is a MUST have on Christmas in every Brazilian home.


- Baguette (there is usually a special bread for this, but you can use a white baguette).
- Eggs
- Condensed milk
- Milk
- Sugar
- Cinnamon
- Canola oil for deep frying

1- Cut the baguette in thick slices (2 - 3 cm).
2- Mix about 2 tbsp of condensed milk in 1 1/2 cup of milk and reserve.
3- Whisk egg in a separate bowl and reserve.
4- Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
5- Heat the canola oil for deep frying.
6- Dip the baguette first in the milk mixture, then in the egg and then in the heated oil.
7- After the baguette is golden brown, remove it from the frying pan and place it in a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
8- Cover the fried baguette in the sugar and cinnamon mix and serve.

You can serve them hot or leave them in the fridge for the day after.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Tell me, have you ever tried a Rabanada? What did you think?

Thank you for reading. See you next time.

Dee ;)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Rainbow Cake!

This is a very cool cake to make. If you have kids, they'll certainly love it.

But be warned, you will need some patience.

As I always do, before starting a new creation, I researched about it to know what other people were doing and how they'd made it work.

To make it easier, some people would rather use a plain cake mix and just add the food colouring. not me, though, I like to make everything from scratch. That said, I started with a simple white cake with a touch of vanilla to make it a bit more special.


The filling was a tricky thing. I knew I couldn't use a filling that was too soft, otherwise the cake would not be firm enough and when cut, one layer would stain the next one so, the effect - which is pretty awesome - of the seven different colours of the rainbow would be lost. I didn't want to use the "traditional" buttercream, I wanted something different.

Since I really (REALLY!!) like chocolate, my favourite filling is always chocolate truffle, it is creamy and delicious. However, white chocolate can be a bit “too buttery” so, a white chocolate truffle wouldn't be the right fit in both taste and texture for this cake.

After a while, I decided to give it a try with a traditional Brazilian sweet called: Beijinho.

Beijinho is a traditional sweet served usually in kids' parties but it can also be used for filling.

The texture of Beijinho is perfect to be used with the raibow cake as it acts like “glue” for each one of the layers and also provides a sweet (but not too sweet) coconut flavour.


With the icing, I wanted to keep it all white. I thought it would contrast well with the colours of the cake. I could use then meringue, whipped cream or beijinho itself. Beijinho icing wouldn't give the effect I was hoping, and the meringue would make the cake too sweet. Whipped cream seemed like the way to go, it is light in flavour and looks beautiful.

What is great about this recipe is that you can customize it as you please. Some folks are doing only six colours, others bake one batter with all colours combined. You can also add colour to the icing to make it more special.

Now I would love to hear from you:

Have you ever tried this recipe or a similar one?

What makes your cake shine?

Thank you for reading this.

Dee ;)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Blank Page

I believe everyone who starts a blog, a book, a column or just a page in a diary goes through a moment of staring at a blank page and trying to figure it out. How do I start?

Well, that’s no different for me. How do you start to explain a passion you have? How can you make others understand the depth of something you just love to do?

When you start to put your thoughts into words you begin to discover things about yourself that you probably did not know or maybe had just repressed. What are you passionate about?

Everyone has a passion for something. Maybe it is technology, books, fashion, movies, games, painting – what have you - in my case it is creating. You might think, “Oh, that’s specific!”

I could just say that I love cooking, but I reckon it would not show the depth of what I mean. Not even if I just said,
          - Yes, my passion is baking cakes.

How can I explain that it is not about the final product? How can I express how much it is about the whole process?

It is the fact that you can use various ingredients, things that have no shape, no flavour and no colour and when they are combined, they bring to life this amazing (sometimes not so amazing) creation!

It is about the thrill of getting that old recipe and doing it again, and changing it a bit to see how you can affect the end result.

It is about arriving home after a stressful day and just escaping reality for a while and, at the end, having something special you can enjoy. Even if it doesn’t result on a beautiful cake to share with your loved ones – when it just burns! – you know you’ve had that moment. 

Sometimes it’s just cathartic!

It is about embracing the fact that your emotions affect what you eat, and what you eat can affect how you feel.

How amazing is that! For me it is more amazing to know that I can be the one to allow others to experience new emotions through different types of creations.

It is the journey I love. Every bite ;)

Thank you for reading and welcome aboard!