Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RECIPE - Ambrosia

The word ambrosia is from ancient Greek mythology and refers to the food of the gods. It was believed to confer immortality to those who ate it. Ever since, in innumerous languages and cuisines, it has been used to refer to any food that is considered so delicious that it is worthy to be eaten by the gods - usually something light and sweet. In my childhood, it was the name of a very unfortunate concoction that was a staple of church-basement suppers and family thanksgivings - a mixture of canned mandarin oranges, canned pineapple, canned fruit salad, shredded sweetened coconut, and mini-marshmallows.

In Brazil the name ambrosia is bestowed on a much more felicitous dessert - made with milk, sugar, cinnamon and eggs. This recipe comes from the state of Minas Gerais, but it has spread throughout Brazil, and is a family favorite from North to South.

Serves 4

Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
peel of one lime - outer green peel only

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups whole milk
4 egg whites
8 egg yolks
powdered cinnamon (optional)


In a medium, heavy saucepan place the cinnamon, lime peel, sugar and water. Place over medium heat, and stir until sugar has completely dissolved. Stop stirring, raise heat to bring liquid to a boil. Continue boiling until the mixture has reached the consistency of maple syrup. Off heat, stir in the milk, then return the mixture to the stove, on medium heat, until it reaches a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks lightly. With a whisk or egg beater, separately beat the egg whites to stiff peak stage, then fold in the beaten egg yolks. Add this egg mixture to the milk on the stove, without mixing it in. When the eggs begin to set, delicately stir with a fork, separating the cooked egg from the milk syrup. Remove from heat as soon as eggs are set.

Place the cooked eggs in 4 dessert bowls, then pour the milk mixture over. Sprinkle with powdered cinnamon if desired. Serve immediately.

(recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Editora Abril)



  1. Hi, nice post, but I must correct you, ambriosia NOT come from Minas Gerais, you're wrong. The Ambrosia was made ​​in the convents of Portugal for the Portuguese Royalty. When the Portuguese came to Brazil, "brought" the ambrosia.

  2. Oráculo, I'm sorry but you are wrong. The Portuguese Ambrosia is different from the Brazilian one. If you go to the South of Brazil you'll find the Portuguese one, but, it's not the same.

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