Friday, February 3, 2012

RECIPE - Coconut Blancmange for Yemanjá (Manjar Branco para Yemanjá)

Yemanjá painted by Carybé
In yesterday's post here on Flavors of Brazil, we promised to post a recipe today for one of the ceremonial dishes associated with the goddess Yemanjá in the Afro-Brazilian religious tradition of Candomblé. Each of the many gods and goddesses of Candomblé has specific foods with which they are associated - foods that they are said to enjoy - and these foods are offered to the deity during Candomblé ceremonies (and subsequently eaten by devotees during the post-ceremonial feast).

Because Yemanjá is the goddess of the sea, the essence of motherhood and protector of children, and because she is identified with the Virgin Mary, her colors are blue and white. The foods that are offered to her are consequently white or light in color.
Manjar branco

This recipe, which comes from a Brazilian webpage called Comida do Orixá Iemanja (Food of the Goddess Yemanjá) is for one of the dishes most commonly associated with Yemanjá. Simple, light, sweet and most importantly, white, the milk pudding known as blancmange in English and manjar branco in Portuguese is perfectly suited to this loving, motherly, beautiful and vain goddess.

It's also perfectly suited to non-ceremonial roles, such as a simple dessert to end a rich meal. It can be topped with almost any fruit compote or coulis if you wish a more complex dish, but when it's served to Yemanjá it's presented in its simplest and purest form.
RECIPE - Coconut Blancmange for Yemanjá (Manjar Branco para Yemanjá)

4 cups (1 liter) hot whole milk - just at the boiling point
1 cup grated unsweetened coconut
4 Tbsp cornstarch
a small amount cold whole milk
1 cup (250 ml) granulated white sugar
In a medium saucepan, pour the hot milk over the grated coconut. Let soak for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in a small quantity of cold milk. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the liquid in the saucepan, then add the white sugar.

Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is complete dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very hot and has thickened, usually about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let come to a full boil.

When the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat, pour into a ceramic bowl or a decorative mold and let cool completely. When cool, refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I think the most classic recipe would be toped with a dried prunes sauce. Yes, it pleases the Dutch palate very well (of course, they are used to Indonesian food with lots of coconut milk). On my list of top & easy Brazilian recipes !