I had just finished composing my blog’s menu for March when an email came through from Nazneen, the author of Coffee and Crumpets, asking if I would guest post for her blog. At the time, Pão de Mel (Honey Bread) was one of the treats that were on my mind!
I willingly accepted this opportunity to guest post for her– Nazneen is one of my favorite fellow bloggers, and because of this, I could not refuse her kind offer. I have no doubt that if we lived nearby, we’d be great friends.
So I asked her what type of dish she’d like to have appear in the post… She suggested a Brazilian chocolate dessert. From among several different ones that I had in mind, I picked pão de mel– “honey bread.” For those unfamiliar with this dessert popular in Brazil, pão de mel is a cake sandwich of European origin, made mostly from honey, chocolate, and spices, which is coated in chocolate to prolong its flavor and moist texture, and can be filled with dulce de leche, brigadeiro filling, jam, etc. It usually has either a square or round shape (resembling a cookie sandwich or alfajor). However, today I preferred to give ours the shape of a mini cake.
Pão de Mel has a rich, decadent taste of chocolate (of course) and especially of spices — oh, it is also a great dessert to have with a good cup of coffee. I thought that pão de mel would pair well with the concept of Nazneen’s blog. When I think about spices, Indian cuisine jumps immediately to mind… And where do I find great Indian recipes when I do need them? Coffee and Crumpets!!!
Although this pão de mel recipe has been adapted from a Brazilian pastry chef, I came up with the decoration.
Pão de Mel
(Honey Bread) Yield: About 6 large or 12 standard size muffin-tin units
Segment: Brazilian cuisine
Ingredients: 250g (about 8.8 ounces) light brown sugar 1 cup water 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup milk 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten 1/2 cup pure honey Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 egg whites 1 can dulce de leche (for the filling) 800 g (28.2 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, melted in a double boiler at 32º C or 89.5º F (for the topping) Directions:
1. Grease and flour a large-size or standard-size muffin tin. Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the brown sugar and water just until the sugar dissolves (Remember: You are NOT making a simple syrup). Remove from heat and set aside until cool. Whisk the sifted flour and spices on top of the water-sugar mixture. Add the cocoa powder and oil, whisking well. Dissolve both the baking soda and powder in milk and add to the batter. Add in the beaten yolks, honey, salt, and vanilla, stirring until combined.
3. In a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites into the batter in 2-3 different additions to make the batter more aerated. Put into the tin (fill each well 3/4 full) and bake for about 20 minutes (standard) or 27-30 minutes (large). You will end up with the fluffiest cakes ever. Please, do not overbake or the cakes will turn out dry.
4. When cakes are cool, using a serrated/bread knife, remove top of the cakes. I reserved mine to make cookie sandwiches (whoopie pies). Next, slice cake so you end up with 3 layers. Spread them with dulce de leche. When cakes are assembled, brush them with simple syrup (this will help avoid releasing crumbs into the melted chocolate and will keep the cakes moist).
5. Place the cake on a fork and bathe in the melted chocolate. Place on a rack with a baking sheet underneath, and let excess chocolate drain off of the cake onto the baking sheet below. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let the chocolate set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
6. Then, decorate each pão de mel as you wish. For mine, I used flower-shaped cupcake liners, ribbon tied around the middle, and Wilton sugar flowers. I also used melted pink chocolate melts to fill molds for the pink sculptures on top of our mini cakes.
Note: Recipe adapted from Folha de São Paulo by Chef patissier Lucas Corazza. You might also enjoy:
- Coconut-Cornmeal Cake (Bolo de Fubá com Coco)
- Spiced Banana Upside Down Cake (Bolo de Banana)
- Glazed Guaraná Cake Topped with Toasted Cashew Nuts (Bolo de Guaraná Glaceado com Castanha de Caju)
- Gluten-Free Creamy Corn Cake (Pamonha de Forno)
- Passion Fruit Cake with Double Topping (Bolo de Maracujá com Cobertura Dupla)
- Corn Muffins with Guava Paste (Bolinhos de Milho com Goiabada)
________________________________________________________________________________ Receita em Português:
Pão de Mel Rende: 12 unidades
Ingredientes: 250g de açúcar mascavo 1 xícara (chá) de água 2 xícaras (chá) de farinha de trigo 1/2 colher (chá) de cravo em pó 1/2 colher (chá) de canela em pó 1/2 colher (chá) de gengibre em pó 1/2 colher de (chá) de noz moscada 2 colheres (sopa) de chocolate em pó 1 e 1/2 colheres de (sopa) de óleo vegetal 1 colher (chá) de bicarbonato de sódio 1 colher de (chá) de fermento em pó 1/2 xícara (chá) de leite 2 gemas levemente batidas 1/2 xícara (chá) de mel de boa qualidade Uma pitada de sal 1 colher de (chá) de essência de baunilha 2 claras 1 lata de doce de leite para o recheio 800 g de chocolate meio-amargo temperado (derretido a 32º C) para a cobertura Modo de Preparo:
1. Unte 12 forminhas redondas (6 cm) com manteiga e farinha de trigo. Pré-aqueça o forno a 180º C.
2. Em uma panela pequena, sobre fogo médio, mexa o açúcar mascavo e a água até que o açúcar dissolva. Retire do fogo e reserve até esfriar. Com um batedor, misture a farinha e as especiarias peneiradas sobre a mistura de água com açúcar. Acrescente o chocolate em pó e o óleo, misturando bem. Dissolva o bicarbonato e o fermento no leite e adicione à massa. Junte as gemas batidas, o mel, o sal e a baunilha, misturando tudo muito bem.
3. Na batedeira, bata as claras até obter picos firmes e divida em três partes. Misture delicadamente as partes à massa, para que fique mais aerada. Coloque nas forminhas (encha somente 3/4 de cada forminha) e leve para assar por aproximadamente 20 minutos (é muito importante observar o tempo para que o bolo não fique seco).
4. Depois de frio, recheie com doce de leite. Antes de servir, com o aux’ilio de um garfo, “banhe” o pão de mel no chocolate derretido em banho maria. Ponha sobre uma grade com uma forma por baixo e deixe o excesso de chocolate escorrer enquanto endurece no pão de mel. Quando o chocolate tiver enxugado, decore à gosto.
OBS: Receita adaptada da Folha de São Paulo. _____________________________________________________________________________________