Take 5 - A modern Portuguese sweet combo

For this pudding I have taken five prime Portuguese ingredients,just add pepper, pastry and pistachios and you have a modern Portuguese piece de resistance.
Everything can be made in advance and then assembled when wanted

1       Rocha pears
     Algarvian almonds
     Queijo de Nisa
5    Flor de sal

Pêra Rocha (Rocha Pear) is a native Portuguese variety of pear. It is the only variety that is qualified (PDO): the West Rocha Pear (Pêra Rocha do Oeste) is the main horticultural product that Portugal exports.The earliest account of the Rocha variety dates from 1836, in Sintra.The particular variety was casually obtained from a seed, on Pedro António Rocha's farm. The variety derives its name from his family name.This pear's pulp is fine, soft and aromatic and therefore perfect for pulping for a sorbet.

Madeira- a medium dry madeira is delicious as a desert wine or with fruits such as peaches or peras rich cakes and indeed with strong cheeses,therefore the perfect candidate for this plate Cheaper versions are often flavoured with salt and pepper for use in cooking.I used an expensive Madeira to pair with the Flor de sal and pepper in my recipe.

Queijo de Nisa DOC has the protected geographical status of DOC(Denominação de Origem Controlada) from the European Commission. It was honored by the magazine Wine Spectator as one of the world's top 100 in an edition devoted to cheese — 100 Great Cheeses. Queijo Nisa is a semi-hard sheep's milk cheese from the municipality of Nisa, in the subregion of Alto Alentejo in Portugal. It is created from raw milk, which is coagulated, then curdled using an infusion of thistle. It is yellowish white, with a robust flavor and a somewhat acidic finish.

Flor de sal Salmarim from our home territory of Castro Marim

Algarvian almonds How can you create a desert in Portugal without introducing almonds in one form or another?

You will need 16 individual foil baking cups 
Makes 16
250g  (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Nisa Cheese (
substitute Pecorino if you cant get Nisa)
2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed into small pieces

1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups all purpose flour
Golden granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF/180º C , with the rack set in the center. Cream together butter, and sugar in a large bowl.  Add cheese, pepper and salt, and mix together until well blended, then add flour and mix until well combined.Press the dough with your fingers into individual 6cm(2in) foil baking cups then place on a baking tray in thefreezer to chill for 15-30 minutes until cold and firm.Remove from the freezer and bake for about 20 minutes until set and straw coloured.Cool in their pans on a wire rack until completely cold before removing them.Store in an airtight tupperware container until ready to use.

You will need two silicone or rubber ice trays
with cylindrically shaped compartments
Makes 16
Allow 1 pear per person. peeled, stemmed, 
cored and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons medium dry madeira
Freshly grated nutmeg ( or ground cinnamon ) for dusting
Put the pears, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in a pan with 125ml water, and cook over a low flame until the pears collapses ( 10 mins approx depending on how ripe the pears are).
Remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon and when cool, blitz the pears in the processor.Add the madeira,give it a good stir and taste.
The madeira shouldn’t be overbearing or too powerful – it should be subtle and should work well with the pears. However, different brands do vary in strength and flavour, so add to taste.One word of warning if you use too much alcohol the Sorbet won´t freeze. Transfer the purée to the ice trays and put them into the freezer. You will notice it becoming paler in colour as it freezes. After a couple of hours it should be ready. The texture should be firm but easy to just push out like ice cubes would be.

The final element in the composition of this pudding is Algarvian almonds that came my way recently when Casa Rosada went on a field trip to Santa Caterina.I skinned the almonds and slivered them, and then lightly roasted  them with some shelled pistachios.I then made an Indian spiced brittle with Chilli flakes, cardamom and a little cinnamon.
Fragrant Indian Brittle 
This delicious and slightly exotic Indian-inspired candy incorporates a blend of cashews, pistachios, and almonds in a golden brittle sweetened with honey and lightly spiced with cardamom.

Vegetable oil for greasing parchment paper
1 teaspoon green cardamom pods (about 8 pods)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup mild honey
1/4 cup light golden syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
Heaped teaspoon piri piri (Hot Chilli) flakes,optional
1 cup raw cashews, coarsely chopped (4 1/2 oz)
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (not dyed red; 2 1/4 oz), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds (preferably with skin; 2 oz) 
Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly oil 2 (16- by 12-inch) sheets of parchment paper with vegetable oil and put 1 sheet, oiled side up, on a heatproof work surface.
Crush cardamom pods with side of a large heavy knife and scrape out seeds, discarding pods. Coarsely crush seeds with mortar and pestle or side of heavy knife.
Bring sugar, honey, syrup, water, crushed cardamom seeds, and salt to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, then boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 350°F on thermometer, about 9 minutes.
Add nuts and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture returns to a boil, about 1 minute. Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment on work surface (use caution when pouring hot liquids) and carefully cover with remaining sheet of parchment, oiled side down. Immediately roll out mixture between parchment sheets, pressing firmly with a large wooden rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick (use caution; mixture will still be hot). If brittle hardens before it is thin enough, transfer to a large baking sheet (still between parchment sheets) and warm brittle in oven 5 minutes to soften, then continue rolling to 1/4 inch thick.
Cool brittle until firm enough to hold its shape but still pliable, 2 to 5 minutes, then remove top sheet of parchment. Lightly oil blade of a large heavy knife or a pizza cutter and score surface of brittle into 1 1/2-inch squares. If brittle hardens too much to score, transfer to a large baking sheet and warm on parchment, uncovered, until surface softens, about 5 minutes, then immediately score remaining lines. Cool brittle completely, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Invert brittle and peel off bottom sheet of parchment, then break into pieces.
Brittle keeps in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, at room temperature 1 month.


  1. O gosh they look good..I'm just putting on my hat and coat and rushing out to get some raw seeds and nuts to have a go at the Indian brittle...I have made normal peanut brittle which P loves but this sounds delicious.


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