Monday, October 25, 2010

RECIPE - Pé-de-moleque (Ragamuffin's Foot), Version 3

Sofia Mota
Unlike the previous two recipes posted here on Flavors of Brazil, this version of Brazil's pé-de-moleque has nothing to do with traditional cooking, other than in inspiration. Created by chef Sofia Mota of Recife's Jalan Jalan restaurant, and featured at the Prazeres da Mesa Ao Vivo trade show and exhibition, this is a very up-to-date, deconstructed pé-de-moleque. Although the list of ingredients resembles the northestern version of traditional pé-de-moleque, the cooking techniques and the presentation make it very 21st Century.

(As in the northeastern version of pé-de-moleque, this recipe requires manioc-flour dough, unobtainable outside Brazil. For most readers of this blog, therefore, this is a recipe to fantasize about, not to make at home.)

RECIPE - Pé-de-moleque Graças ao Açúcar
15 portions

500 gr manioc dough
400 gr roasted, unsalted cashew nuts, broken into chunky pieces
200 gr salted butter, at room temperature
200 gr mascavo sugar
150 gr grated, unsweetened coconut
100 gr good-quality instant coffee
100 gr roasted, unsalted cashew nuts, whole
2 gr baking powder
5 gr ground fennel
5 gr ground cloves
250 ml honey
200 ml coconut milk
150 ml water
50 ml molasses
4 small cinnamon sticks
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
butter and all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the mascavo sugar and butter until homogenous. Add the manioc dough, the salt and baking powder and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the whole eggs and the yolks, blending them into the batter until completely incorporated. Add the coconut milk and the ground fennel and cloves, stirring and mixing constantly and completely. Reserve.

Make a strong cup of coffee with the instant coffee and the water. Add to the reserved batter, along with the honey and the broken cashew nuts. Blend in completely.

Grease a tube cake pan, or muffin tin, with butter then dust with flour. Decorate the bottom with whole cashews, then sprinkle on the grated coconut and pour over ribbons of molasses. Carefully pour in the batter. Place in the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. (Individual cupcakes will take less time than a large single cake.)

Remove from oven, let partially cool in pan, then turn out onto cake rack and let cool completely.

Serve with cachaça ice cream decorated with spun sugar and mel-de-engenho (concentrated sugar cane juice).

Recipe translated and adapted from Prazeres da Mesa, September 2010.


  1. Manioc flour is not unobtainable outside of Brazil. The manioc root was brought to Brazil by Portuguese slave traders from West Africa and the root is grown throughout the world. The flour is variously labeled as manioc flour, mandioca flour, yucca flour, cassava flour, and tapioca flour (not tapioca starch, which is extracted from the flour), and is generally available at natural foods markets or Latin American and African markets.

  2. Thanks for the comment - I'm aware that manioc flour can be obtained outside Brazil, but this recipe calls for "massa de mandioca" in Portuguese, which is premade manioc dough, already mixed and moistened. I've not seen that outside Brazil, but am open to learn otherwise.