Thursday, March 29, 2012

RECIPE - Pineapple Kisses (Beijos de Abacaxi)

One of the most beautiful words in the Portuguese language is beijo. Pronounced something like BAY-zhoo, it means kiss. Perhaps what give it its charm is the soft sibilant of the zh combined with the oo which requires the lips to purse as if ready to kiss that gives it its charm - or maybe it's only the act described in the word that makes it so appealing. In any case, Brazilians love the word - it's a staple in pop song lyrics, it's heard every night on the extremely popular TV soap-operas called novelas, and it has even found its way into kitchens and cookbooks. In Brazilian gastronomy beijo, not surprisingly, is used mostly in the dessert kitchen, and usually to describe a very sweet, small pastry or sweet.

In this recipe, which comes from the state of Pernambuco, the kisses are made from fresh pineapple. Consequently, although they are very sweet, the sharp acidic bite of the fruit prevents the delicacy from cloying. One is fabulous, and for most people, enough. These treats are perfect as part of a dessert buffet, or on a platter of mixed cookies. As an added bonus, they are very simple to make.
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RECIPE - Pineapple Kisses (Beijos de Abacaxi)
makes 20

2 cups (300 gr) fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and very finely chopped
1 1/2 cup (300 gr) granulated white sugar
unsalted butter for greasing a cookie sheet
additional granulated sugar
fresh mint for garnish (optional)
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Grease a rimmed cookie sheet with unsalted butter. Reserve.

Combine the pineapple and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens sufficiently to pull away from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

When partially cooled, spread the pineapple mixture in the cookie sheet, and let cool completely.

When the pineapple is completely cool, using buttered hands, form the mixture into 20 small round balls. Fill a small mixing bowl with granulated sugar, and roll each ball in the sugar to completely cover. Place the completed balls back on the greased cookie sheet and let stand for several hours.

Serve in small paper cups, decorated with a sprig of mint if desired.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

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