What is quindim?
Quindim is a cooked dessert, originally from Portugal, that is prepared mainly with sugar, egg yolks and coconut.
What is the origin of the word quindim?
The origin of the word quindim (plural quindins) comes from the Sub-Saharan Bantu language, which was probably the birthplace of many Brazilian slaves during the seventeenth century. They used this term in their native language, and it means “gestures, posture, or the humorous characteristics of teenagers.”
In many African languages, quindim also means “enchantment” or “charm”.
What is the origin of quindim?
The source of the recipe is based on traditional Portuguese pastries.
The massive use of egg yolks is typical of many Portuguese and Brazilian pastries such as the famous papo de anjo (angel’s double chin), fios de ovos (egg threads), pastéis de nata or even the cocada amarela recipe that Mike published when we traveled to Angola and which is also originally from Portugal.
In Portugal, originally and to this day, the main flavor for quindim was almond. The quindim recipe was modified by the slaves in the Bahia region, northeast of Brazil in the seventeenth century, thanks to the abundance of coconut in the region at the time.
Because of the large amount of egg yolks, quindim has a bright golden yellow color. The dessert is typically prepared either in bowls, individual ramekins or a springform pan.
Sometimes, quindim is presented in a ring shape. When presented this way, it is known as quindao (as well as quindim) and is served in slices. Quindao is also sometimes topped with fresh fruit.
The secret recipe of this conventual delicacy was passed on by a nun to a very pious lady, her friend and owner of the Colonial Café in Leira. This café still exists today and is the oldest and most famous of the city.
The recipe for brisas do Lis quickly spread in the country and the Portuguese therefore appreciated this new creation by the nuns, based on whole egg yolks, sugar and almonds.
And it is precisely the almonds that helped to create the traditional Brazilian quindim, because when the Portuguese came to colonize Brazil, carrying in their luggage all their delicious recipes, some ingredients were missing.
The slaves prepared many recipes for their masters, but to prepare brisas do lis, they had a big problem: the lack of almonds.
Thanks to their creativity, Africans have decided to prepare this recipe with another ingredient that abounded on Brazilian lands: coconut.
If you happen to modify a single small ingredient in a recipe, it becomes another one and that is exactly what happened with this traditional Portuguese dessert. Due to the lack of almonds, its high cost and the difficulty to import them, they were replaced by grated coconut and the dessert had to be renamed.
Quindim was born from the skillful hands of African slaves, who adapted the Lusitanian recipe with Brazilian ingredients.
How to make quindim
Preparing quindim requires a generous amount of egg yolks but also coconut. Other ingredients such as milk, coconut milk, water, vanilla, and even a pinch of parmesan are sometimes incorporated.
I personally chose the most traditional recipe which includes coconut milk that is traditionally used in most quindim recipes.
Note that sifting the egg yolks and cooking in a water bath are two very important steps in the quindim recipe.
Today, there are different versions of this recipe prepared with ingredients such as pineapple, maracuja, pistachio or coffee.
Cooking in a bain-marie gives the quindim a bright yellow color with a shiny texture and a crust on the surface. Quindim is one of the easiest and fastest desserts to prepare.
Brazilian cooks say that the most fundamental step in getting an excellent quindim is to listen to the samba version of the song “Os Quindins of Yayà”, and it is true that it works!
We enjoyed quindim warm but you can also refrigerate the dessert for a few hours before savoring it. This dessert was so light and yummy!
- 8 egg yolks , sieved
- ⅗ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter , melted
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 cup grated or shredded coconut , fresh or dry
- 2 tablespoons butter , soft
- ½ cup sugar
- Place the coconut in a large bowl and pour the coconut milk on top. Mix well and let stand for 5 minutes.
- In a blender, add the sugar, butter, coconut mixture and egg yolks. Mix for 2 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Generously apply butter in each mold and cover the bottom and edges with sugar edges. Add a little more sugar at the bottom.
- Pour the mixture into the molds and let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. Cook in a water bath for 50 minutes.
- Allow to cool before unmolding.