A cocada is essentially a macaroon, if you took a macaroon and shaped it into a rather tall mound and then added some sweetened condensed milk to the mix. It’s a very typical dessert from Bahia in the Nordeste (Northeast) region of Brazil and so it felt appropriate to share as the recipe inspired by our first few days in Salvador the capital of Bahia. It’s said to have been originally based on a dessert brought over by Angolan slaves and at it’s heart has three components that are central to many traditional Brazilian desserts: coconut, lots of sugar and egg yolks.
Fun fact (it takes a while to get fun, also depends on your definition of fun tbh): Naturally sugar and coconuts were both very abundant in Brazil, but there are two possible explanations for why egg yolks were so widely available to most people and not egg whites. One story says that at the time, the Brazilian upper class was fascinated with French desserts and so most egg whites were used for airy meringues and feather light cakes, leaving the staff of the houses and the kitchen with many egg yolks to make use of. In another theory, nuns (notorious bakers in Brazil, not sure why it is not so here?) often had leftover egg yolks from using the egg whites to starch their habits and thus came up with desserts to use them up. Fun Yes/No?
Before this trip I had only had cocada in it’s more common form, essentially a giant macaroon type dessert. So the cocada de forno (“oven cocada”) we had at Tereza Paím in Salvador was a bit of a revelation. Essentially take the cocada batter and add more sweetened condensed milk, more eggs and for a surprising subtly savoury twist – a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese! Fear not that last one is optional for the more skeptical amongst you (but it turns out pretty good). When you bake the whole thing you end up with a crackly golden brown crust and sweet, sticky coconut underneath. For an extra twist (if you are still not sold on that parmesan cheese thing) I added a couple tablespoons of docê de leite to the inside of the cocada de forno. So once your spoon cracks the glossy golden exterior and just below the first half inch of tangled coconut shreds swimming in sweetened condensed milk – some caramel lava oozes out the surface. Just in case you’re worried this dessert doesn’t have enough sugar (that’s why you need the cheese).
Also yay, first bilingual recipe for any fellow brasileiros out there. A receita em português está abaixo!
COCADA DE FORNO (MACAROON PUDDING)
Makes 2 5-inch ramekins and 4-5 small ramekins
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 tablespoon of butter, melted
- 200 grams or about 4 cups of shredded coconut – note you want dried coconut and long shreds and not grated or shaved coconut)
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 6 tablespoons of dulce de leche (available at Trader Joe’s or canned in the Hispanic section of many supermarkets)
- Optional: 2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375F and grease ramekins very well.
- Add the coconut shreds to the bowl and add the whisked eggs. Stir thoroughly until well-mixed.
- Add the butter and sweetened condensed milk and mix well.
- Lastly, add the sugar, salt and if using the parmesan cheese.
- Add the cocada batter to the ramekins until half full, dollop 1-2 tablespoons of dulce de leche in the center of the batter and then top with the rest of the cocada batter.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes for the larger ramekins and 14-16 minutes for the smaller ramekins. The cocada will be ready when the top is entirely golden brown and darker brown around the edges but there is still some ‘wiggle’ in the center of the cocada.
Very lightly adapted from this recipe by Daniela Barreira.
COCADA DE FORNO COM RECHEIO DE DOCÊ DE LEITE
Faz 4-5 cocadas usando ramequins pequenos ou 2 cocadas usando ramequins maiores de ~12cm, como nas fotos.
- 1 lata de leite condensado
- 2 ovos, batidos levemente
- 1 colher de sopa de manteiga, derretida (e manteiga para untar os ramequins)
- 200 gramas ou mais ou menos 4 xícaras de coco ralado
- 3/4 xícaras de açucar
- 1 colher de chá de sal
- 6 colheres de sopa de docê de leite
- Opcional: 2 colheres de sopa de queijo parmesão ralado
- Pré-aqueça o forno à 190C e unte os ramequins com manteiga.
- Misture bem os ovos e o coco ralado em uma bacia média.
- Acrescente a manteiga derretida e o leite condensado.
- Por último, adicione a açucar, o sal e o queijo parmesão (opcional) e misture bem.
- Divida a massa nos ramequins, enchendo eles até a metade com a cocada, acrescentando uma ou duas colheradas do docê de leite no centro e depois cobrindo com o resto da massa da cocada.
- Leve ao forno por cerca de 20-24 minutos para ramequins maiores e 14-16 minutos para os ramequins pequenos. A cocada deve estar inteiramente dourada por fora com uma crostinha crocante mas ainda um pouco mole no meio.
Adaptada levemente dessa receita por Daniela Barreira.
These should definitely be eaten warm but they do need some time to cool beyond their magma-hot state when they exit the oven. Although they are best freshly out of the oven they still tasted pretty great the next day after 40 seconds in the microwave :)
And there you have it. A little bit of Bahia, a little bit of Brazilian history and a lot of leite condensado.