Deserts and forests; mountains and volcanoes; beaches and seafood; barbecues and wine-this colorful country just seems to have it all. Home to the world’s driest desert and the longest exposed mountain ranges, this country is the longest north-south country in the world. Wondering where we are?? Hola!! And Welcome to Chile!! Off we go with our friend Catalina, exploring the secrets of her home cuisine.
Traditional Chilean cuisine stands out for its distinctive colors and flavor. It reflects the very varied topography and climate along the length of the country and is broadly classified into Northern, Central Coastal and Southern cuisines. Each of these cuisines is shaped by the tradition, customs and produce of that particular region. Over the years, Chilean cuisine has been influenced by Spanish, Italian, German and French cuisines. Owing to its very long coastline, Chile is home to a wide variety of ocean products. Fish and seafood are therefore integral to their cuisine. Other major ingredients of this cuisine include beef, chicken, maize, and potatoes. Northern Chilean cuisine makes abundant use of olives and olive oil. Native fruits-Chirimoya (Custard Apple in English) and Lucuma (Eggfruit in English)-are very popular and widely used. Wine and pisco, South American liquor distilled from grapes, are popular beverages.
An EC partner, Catalina is very nostalgic as she talks about her home cuisine. She explains fondly how family and friends are integral to Chilean culture. She remembers and misses the delicious spread her mother lays out on birthdays, festivals and all other special occasions. My mouth waters as she describes them. During her time in Boston, Catalina has painstakingly learned to make some of these dishes through regular online Skype sessions she has had with her mother. Thank you Skype and today we have some irresistibly indulgent and not surprisingly delicious desserts, which many of us often have the privilege of being treated to. Catalina’s desserts are always an absolute hit!!
Brazo de Reina: Brazo de reina which translates into “Queen’s Arm” in Spanish is a Chilean favorite and a caramel lover’s delight. It is a roll resembling a jelly roll with a filling of caramel.
For Catalina’s Brazo de reina, you will need:
6 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 caramel can (manjar, dulce de leche)
Chocolate decors (optional)
Cooking Procedure: Beat the egg whites until stiff, add the yolks and continue beating and slowly add sugar. Add the flour and the baking powder, and continue beating until all the ingredients are well mixed.
On the oven tray put a white paper varnished with butter or oil. Pour the mixed ingredients on the tray and bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees F. Take the cooked mixture out of the oven and check if the mixture is cooked. (Be careful because the mixture cooks fast and is very hot.)
Meanwhile on another tray, have a damp clean or new dishcloth. Invert the cooked mixture over the dishcloth and remove the white paper sticking over the mixture. Roll the mixture with the dishcloth like a log. Let it rest for 1 or 2 minutes, then unroll the mixture and remove from the dishcloth. Spread the caramel on the inside and roll it up again. Over the roll with caramel, pour more caramel on the outside and sprinkle chocolate decors as decoration. Indulge in your caramel delight.
Thank you Catalina for that caramely indulgence. We take off again!! Adios to Chile and see you next week in Sushi Land!!
Niranjana Neelakantan Gupta is an EC Partner. A home-maker, Niranjana enjoys hosting friends, cooking, writing and travelling.