Of Flavours & Tastes…
These days I am being haunted by memories..Especially of food.Sometimes a nice piece of literature or music or even an acquaintance from the past brings back those sweet and sour memories..The other day I happen to meet an acquaintance from Goa.A place where I stayed for almost four months.The evening walk coupled with some shopping on a daily basis from an old bakery was my perfect day there.One of those evenings I tasted Bebinca,just as any other food without prejudice.But it was the beginning of an addiction..So tempting is the luscious taste it emanates while in mouth that I packed many small bebincas on my journey back.As usual during my return I didn’t forget to collect a nice cookbook from Goa.The Essential Goa Cookbook of Maria Teresa Menezes.Luckily it turned out as one of the best books in my collection of regional Indian recipe books so far.
Maria Teresa calls Bebinca as the emperor of Goan confectioneries.I think Bebinca deserves that.This multi-layered sweet is kind of wonder and an experience not to forget..Beware,it’s lot of calories as well !
Coming to Bebinca recipe,I may have to start with a disclaimer.This recipe demands lot of work and patience.Basically it’s the perfect blend of egg yolks,coconut milk,sugar and flour.The coconut milk should be very thick and the batter preparation should be keen.The cooking involves two parts.The first one being the setting of batter or steaming and then baking.This may take couple of hours,but worth it.The traditional Bebinca calls for 15-20 perfectly baked layers.But mine is only eight.Whether you try yourself or not,you have to taste this wonderful sweet at least once in a lifetime …
1 cup very thick coconut milk
1.5 cup thin coconut milk
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour/maida
8 egg yolks
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder or cardamom powder
pinch of salt
3/4 to 1 cup ghee
silvered almonds to decorate
water as needed
a baking pan of “6 diameter,2 1/2 high
Make a sugar syrup boiling sugar and 1/4 cup water to one thread consistency.Keep it lukewarm.In a large bowl slowly combine flour and thick coconut milk.To this add sugar syrup and mix well.In another bowl beat the egg yolks and then slowly add this to the flour mixture.Slowly mix the thin coconut milk and prepare a batter of medium consistency.Be careful not to make it thin.Finally add the salt and nutmeg/cardamom powder to the mixture and keep.Now grease the baking pan with ghee and pour enough batter to coat the pan.Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 degree and boil water in a steamer.First, place the pan inside the steamer and cook till the batter is set.Now shift this to oven and put the upper element on.The layer should turn to a golden brown colour and cooked well.The upper element or grill will be the better option for this.This will take 8-10 minutes.When the layer is cooked to golden brown,take it out and brush with ghee.Now repeat the process of pouring,steaming and baking till the batter finishes.Allow it to cool when finished.Demould and keep in fridge for better results.Decorate with almonds and serve.Enjoy!