Saturday, July 16, 2011

RECIPE - Passion Fruit Cake (Bolo de Maracujá)

One of our habits here at Flavors of Brazil is to search out a thematically suitable recipe for publishing the day after we have an article about a particular Brazilian food, be it fish, fowl or fruit. If we run a piece about a fish called robalo (snook in English), we're likely to follow that with a robalo recipe the next day. Or if we track down an exotic fruit from the Amazon or the Pantanal and feature it in a posting, the next post often will have a recipe based on that fruit.

The most recent posting on this blog was about three very exotic Brazilian foods - endangered heritage foods that have been catalogued for preservation in the Slow Food Ark of Taste. These three food, which include a flour made from sun-dried river fish, a smelly but delicious fruit from a hardwood tree, and a wild variety of the commonly cultivated passion fruit (maracujá). Recipes for the first two of these heritage foods are thin on the ground and a bit of internet searching came up with almost nothing in the way of recipes. Besides which, even if we did publish a recipe almost none of the readers of this blog would have the slightest chance of sourcing the main ingredient.

The wild passion fruit known as maracujá da Caatinga, though, is not entirely unlike cultivated and commercialized passion fruits, even if it is more highly perfumed and densely flavored. So we've decided to feature a common Brazilian recipe for a simple cake soaked in a passion fruit syrup. In the extremely unlikely circumstance that you have an available supply of maracujá da Caatinga please use it (and let us know the results.) Otherwise use whatever fresh passion fruit is available to you, or in a pinch, even canned or frozen passion fruit pulp.
RECIPE - Passion Fruit Cake (Bolo de Maracujá)

4 whole eggs, separated
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 cups cake flour
1 cup passion fruit juice
2 heaping Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp baking powder

2 fresh passion fruits (3 if small)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup water
Make the cake:
 Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

In a medium mixing bowl combine the egg yolks, the sugar and butter and beat with hand mixer or cake mixer until light and fluffy. Reserve. In another bowl, preferably copper, beat the egg whites to soft peak stage. Reserve.

Alternatively add small quantities of  passion fruit juice and flour to the creamed sugar/butter mixture, mixing each in thoroughly before proceeding. When completely added in, fold the egg whites in gently - do not overmix.

Pour the batter into greased and floured tube pan, bundt pan or springform cake pan. Place in preheated oven and cook for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Make the syrup:
While the cake in baking, combine the passion fruit pulp (seeds included), the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring rapidly to a boil, reduce heat slightly and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the liquid has cooked down and you have a this syrup. Remove from heat and reserve.

Completing the cake:
As soon as the cake is done, remove it from the oven. Using a metal or bamboo skewer poke holes in the surface of the cake. Pour the syrup over while the cake is still hot so that is will penetrate the holes and soak into the cake. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the cake pan.