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      RECIPE TITLE "Carmen Miranda"
    recipe from Fiesta! A Celebration of Latin Hospitality Copyright © 1991 by Felipe Rojas-Lombar

    yields Serves 8 time--- difficultyeasy

    Old World European sweets such as meringues, trifles, and custards are the backbone of the South American family dessert repertoire. Often these are studded with tropical fruits and, in the old French tradition, given fancy names such as "fantasy," "surprise," or "queen such and such." This is one such recipe, given to me by a cake vendor in a Sao Paulo park. The name? Carmen Miranda, she blurted out cheerfully. The dessert proved as flamboyant as its namesake: layers of champagne biscuits (for which I have substituted ladyfingers), soaked in cachaa (Brazilian "white lightning"), luscious tart custard, and a cornucopia of tropical fruit. The recipe's creator specified Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which is a huge hit in South America. This is a wonderful party dessert, and the recipe can easily be doubled if you are serving a large crowd.


    4 large egg yolks
    1 cup sugar
    12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
    1 cup cachaa or white rum
    One and a half 7-ounce packages ladyfingers
    2 cups diced ripe mangoes, plus more for garnish
    2 cups diced ripe pineapple, plus more for garnish
    2 cups diced ripe papaya, plus more for garnish


    1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar until light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, and simmer, whisking constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

    2. In a food processor, combine the yolk mixture with the cream cheese and process until
    fluffy and blended.

    3. With clean beaters, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold this into the cream cheese mixture.

    4. In a small saucepan, bring the cachaa to a simmer with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Cool a little and transfer to a bowl.

    5. Dipping them in the cachaa as you work, place one third of the ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9-inch glass bowl. Cover with the diced mangoes and then with one third of the cream cheese mixture. Cover with another third of the ladyfingers, the pineapple, and one third of the cream cheese mixture. Repeat, using the remaining lady fingers, the papaya, and finishing with the remaining cream cheese. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve garnished with diced fruit.

    HOT! We recommend:

    book coverArt of South American Cookery (Hippocrene International Cookbook Series)
    "Parts of South America have very similar cookery styles. For example, many countries serve the classic dishes brought from their motherlands: Spain and Portugal. However, the locally available ingredients have naturally influenced and modified the cuisines of the individual countries. Chile, for example, has taken full advantage of its long coastline and superb fisheries to create some delectable seafood preparations. Notable is Chupe de Mariscos, a seafood soup-stew or chowder. Brazil, using the black beans of the country, has as its national dish Feijoada, made with beans and a variety of meats and spices. Argentina, a great meat country, combines meats with fruits and vegetables, resulting in a Carbonada. One of Peru's contributions to the art of good eating is a marvelous chicken-and-pepper dish called Aji de Pollo. Dishes with Salsa de Almendras, almond sauce, are familiar through large parts of South America, but reach a high point of deliciousness in Ecuador, where this sauce is served with shrimp, eggs, and almost anything the chef has available. You will find that cooking the South American way introduces a new type of cuisine into your menu. It offers a scope and excitement that will delight your family and guests." -from the author's Introduction
    More info
    book coverArt of South American Cooking
    As diverse as its history and as varied as the countries that make up the continent, South American cooking combines the agricultural greatness of the pre-Columbian native peoples--responsible for cultivating the potato, tomato, chile pepper, and corn--with the culinary traditions of later arrivals from Spain, Portugal, the west coast of Africa, Italy, and elsewhere to create a delicious cuisine of dimension and depth.
    Felipe Rojas-Lombardi presents a spectacular array of both innovative and traditional recipes. He begins each chapter with a discussion of how that particular food fits into the fabric of the meal. The more than 250 recipes include ceviches, escabeches, empanadas, tamales, soups, seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables and grains, and desserts; and finally there is a chapter on such basics as how to prepare eggless mayonnaise and corn beer, and how to clean squid. An enormously talented cook and teacher, Felipe brings North Americans the culinary diversity and great food of the continent to our south. More info


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