MARQUESA DE CHOCOLATE. Sjokoladepudding kake.

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Or as I prefer to call it: “our sunday cake”.

Me and my sister used to get together to make this cake, on one hand: to do something on the otherwise boring sunday and on the other, to have something fast and tasty to munch on for the rest of the day.

Imagine a 10 year old (the writer) and a six year old (my sis) all by themselves (technically) in the grandma´s kitchen with a big pot of chocolate pudding and a big pile of Marie biscuits…of course, the half of the lot was already in our tummies by the time we had finished assembling it… Those were the days!

Today this tasty cool cake can be found under the name of Marquesas in Venezuela, being equally popular among adults and children. I guess it is so because works as a good alternative to ice cream, since it is served cold.You can find them in the fridges in the shops around Venezuela with variations to the pudding flavor and toppings such as: flaked almonds, crushed oreos, hundreds and thousands (sprinkles), bolero, or the can-never-go-wrong: grated chocolate!

Here in Norway we find the ´sjokoladepudding´in boxes of 500 gr. already made! simply warm it up and use! Freia and Piano are the most popular local brands.

However I would rather make my own pudding mixture, so if you have the time…here is my recipe:

Ingredients for the chocolate pudding

300 gr Milk (or chocolate drink) (plus 1/2 cup to dip the Marie biscuits)

20 gr Maizena

100 gr Chocolate bar (I prefer the dark/mørk one)

395 gr (1 can) Condensed milk

1 Tbsp Instant coffee

sugar to taste (I didn´t use any, to me the sweetness given by the condensed milk is enough)

50gr  Margerine/butter

Procedure for the chocolate pudding

Wisk into a sauce pan: milk, maizena, condensed milk and coffee, bring to a boil. Lower temperature and keep cooking and wisking to prevent lumps from forming. Once it has thickened… as a good pudding should… break the chocolate into small chunks and add it to the mixture, wisk until incorporated. Now, in goes the butter. Incorporate well. Set aside and let it cool down, cover with cling film making surface contact.

Assembling the chocolate “Marquesa”

Dip the marie biscuits in the milk one at the time, otherwise they will go soggy, and place them as one layer all along the bottom of a glass baker (any glass baker shape you have will do).

Cover them well with the pudding mix, smooth it using the back of a wet spoon. Then add another layer of dipped biscuits and so on, all the way to the top. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

Before serving: sprinkle the cake with the topping of your choice (flaked almonds, colourful  sprinkles, grated chocolate, crushed oreos, etc)

Notes:

If making the pudding mix at home: remember that the Maizena has to be incorporated while the milk is cold (or at room temperature), before starting to cook. If done when the milk is already hot it will form nasty lumps that will be very difficult to get rid off later on.

– You can use any liquid to dip the Marie biscuits in.

– You can substitute the chocolate pudding for any other flavour you might wish.

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COCADA. Kokos drikke.

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I love the “cocada” drink! Every time I visit Morrocoy National Park I never miss it. All along the Venezuelan coast, which is: 3726 Km of coastline and 1,008 km of Coastal Ocean and 1276 km of insular territory*, is surrounded by beautiful palm trees.

The abundance of these trees in the eastern side of the country makes the “cocada” of Puerto La Cruz city super popular.

In my opinion this drink is the ultimate beach drink since it is refreshing, energizing and of course…luscious!

Another piece of information that some might find interesting is that some venezuelans add a splash of coconut water in their whisky while relaxing in the beach, to me is delicious and CERO hangover. Coconut water (not the milk) is incredibly healthy and one of the best drinks to hydrate the body. So whisky and coconut water… something to think about, huh?

The bag of grated coconut 200gr is under 10 kr 🙂

 

Ingredients

60 gr grated coconut (revet kokos) from the bag (or 1 unit of the fresh one)

90 gr sugar

300 gr milk

50 gr condensed milk

1 tbsp cinnamon

Ice cubes

Procedure

If using grated coconut from the bag: mix the milk and the coconut and let them stand for 30 min. so the coconut will hydrate a bit. Then place all the ingredients into a blender and enjoy. It makes 4 glases!

If using fresh coconut: pre-heat the oven at 180C and bake the coconut for around 10 min…or until you hear/see a crack! The heat will open up the coconut for you…waaay easier than smashing it against the floor and less dangerous than using a hammer. Once open, take the shell off and grate the coconut flesh. Then place all the ingredients into the blender and enjoy. It makes 4 glases!

* the source: http://www.monografias.com/trabajos6/maes/maes.shtml

JALEA DE MANGO. Mango gelé

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Magoes originated in Asia. Then brought over to the Americas by the early european settlers. In Venezuela there are mango trees in every town and city. Being Maracay city particularly famous for these deciduous trees, which shades are the best place to sit under in a warm sunny day.

Some of the health benefits of including them in our diets are:

  • Mango fruit is rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and poly-phenolic flavonoidantioxidant compounds.
  • According to new research study, mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. Several trial studies suggest that polyphenolic anti-oxidant compounds in mango are known to offer protection against breast and colon cancers.

In Norway we have a great advantage… when the mangoes are around you can find the unripe versions too. Perfect for “jalea de mango”. You can either eat it straight from the jar, on toasts or as an alternative to the apple sauce on a slow braised pork:

d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

I buy the beauties in any local supermarket store.

Here is my recipe

2 units unripe mangoes (big ones)

200 grms sugar

1/4 ts citric acid or the juice of 2 limes

3 cardamom seeds crushed (alternative)

Procedure

Place the mangoes in a sauce pan, cover them with water and bring to a boil and keep it for about 10 min. Their skin will tear, once this happens they are ready. Strain the water and let them cool down. Peel off the skins and into a bowl…this is the best part :)… with your bare hands squeeze the pulp off them. Discard the stones.

Place the pulp back into the sauce pan. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook the mixture for 25 min approx., keeping the heat in #6 (electric stoves). Stir constantly using a wooden spoon. It is ready to “rock and roll” when you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir around.

Transfer to a jar or molds. I used a silicon molds then I got the little cute shapes you can see above in the pictures. Keep it in the fridge until use.

Note:

– The traditional recipe calls for: the weight in pulp equals the amount of sugar. Since the mangoes I found didn’t have that “punch” in their flavour I reduced the amount of sugar and used the lime juice to improve it. With the 2 units I got 518 gr of pulp.

Enjoy!

BIENMESABE. Det smaker god til meg

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This dessert is a traditional one. Well known from the times when Spain used to rule over Venezuela (until 1810). Some historians claim that this dessert was first made for the Venezuelan aristocracy.

Traditionally is presented as a 2 layered cake with sherry wine, coconut cream filling and merengue topping. I made it in cupcake version only for convenience reasons (to avoid all the cutting and the extra dirty plates)

This cake is a favorite among the kids and its flavors reminds me of the all year round venezuelan summer. Venezuela is where the sky is always blue and the flowers blossom without the need of spring. My beautiful country!

In Norway, depending on the season we can find coconuts in the regular supermarkets, when not, the grated coconut (revet kokos) can be used instead. It comes in a 200 gr bag and costs under 10 Nkr.

I am sure “It will taste good to you too”! This recipe makes a 22 cms round cake or 18 cupcakes.

Recipe

For the coconut cake

7 eggs (separate yokes from whites)

300gr all purpose flour (hvetemel)

125 gr sugar

250gr coconut milk

60gr vegetable oil

1/2 Ts cinnamon

100 grated coconut (revet kokos)

1 Tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Sift the flour and add all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Mix the coconut milk plus the oil into another bowl.

Cream the egg yokes and sugar. Once it has doubled sized and changed color (into a pale yellow) add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and fold into the egg mixture, then add 1/3 of the wet ingredients, and continue 2 more times until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until white and fluffy, add half of the egg whites into the cake mixture and fold it into it. Then the other half.

Place the mixture into a greased and floured cake pan (or muffin molds). Bake at 180 C for 30 min or until a skewer is inserted and it comes out clean. Let it cool down. Place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, when cold it is easier to cut through it without getting all the crumbles around.

For cupcakes go to the end of the post *.

For the cream filling

250 gr coconut milk

50 gr millk

3 egg yokes

100 gr sugar

40 gr maizena

50 gr grated coconut

80 gr Sherry wine (marsala or any sweet wine you happen to have handy)

Mix the egg yokes, sugar and maizena into a bowl and whisk. Place the milks into a sauce pan and bring them to a boil. Add the egg yokes mixture and lower the heat. Keep whisking the mixture until it thickens. Set aside and let it cool down. Once cold add the grated coconut and the wine, mix well.

For the merengue

100 gr egg whites (room temperature)

200 gr sugar

For health reasons, I prefer to use a swiss style meringue. You can use another type, the one you feel more comfortable with.

Place the egg whites and sugar into a bowl. Place the bowl on the top of a sauce pan with boiling water, so the steam will heat up the bowl and will dissolve the sugar granules in it (plus killing all possible existing bacteria, pasteurizing it) move the mixture with a wooden spatula until the sugar grains dissolve. Then take the bowl out of the steam and beat with electric beaters for 10 min. You will notice how the bowl cools down and the meringue turns silky and shiny.

Assembling the cake

Traditional: cut the coconut cake carefully through the center and spread with a generous layer of coconut cream. Place the top layer back on, decorate with the merengue, cinnamon and lemon zest.

* Cupcakes: Fill up the cupcake molds 3/4 with cake mix, bake them 180C for 20min. When cooled down fill them up to the top of the paper cups with the coconut cream, then decorate with merengue, cinnamon and lemon zest.