PAVÊ IN BRAZIL
Pavê has distinct European roots. Some would argue that the French Napoleon is like a pavé- layers of puff pastry, custard and cream and vanilla served chilled–but I believe the most famous one is an Italian Tiramissu — lady fingers soaked in coffee and liqueur and layered with mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder. I make lots of pavês. They are relatively simple to make, attractive, and because they are usually served chilled, perfect on a hot afternoon.
This Pavê de Café was adapted from the back of a bag of Café da Chapada, a local coffee producer.
BRAZILIAN PAVÊ DE CAFÉ RECIPE
For the Filling:
1 can condensed milk
1 can creme de leite
1 can full of strong (unsweetened) coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon maizena (cornstarch)
Ideally in a double boiler, but a pot on low heat works as well, mix all of the ingredients together. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to boil and continue mixing for about two minutes after. The consistency should be that of a pudding. Remove from heat and place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the filling and allow to cool.
For the Topping:
the topping can be whipped cream, it can be merengue, it can be chocolate sauce. I wanted my Pavê to be reminiscent of a cappuccino so I went with a chocolate foam.
3 egg whites
3 tbsp chocolate powder
1 tbsp sugar
In a double boiler, whisk the sugar, egg whites and chocolate powder together. Whisk constantly until both the chocolate powder and sugar dissolved and reach approximately 110 F (or until all melted together). If you live in Brazil, like me, the likelihood of you having a hand mixer with a METAL (that’s the key folks) bowl is unlikely. I hand whisked this baby. Once everything is melted together, remove from the double broiler and whisk until the foam reaches a “soft peak” stage, about 15 minutes of hard whisking.
Putting It All Together
create a mixture of vanilla extract, chocolate powder and milk. If you have a coffee or chocolate liquer (or Kahlua), that’s always a nice touch. Pavês are always more attractive in a glass dish, or if you have a cake mold with a removable bottom, that would be attractive as well. Get your dish ready. One by one, dip the cookies into the chocolate milk and make a flat layer at the bottom of the dish. If you are so inclined, create a layer of the dipped cookies around the sides as well. Next, pour 1/3 of the coffee cream into the pan and spread evenly. Follow with a dash of cocoa powder. Repeat this layering process – cookies, coffee cream, cocoa powder – finishing with the coffee cream on top. Finally add the chocolate foam followed by a dash of cinnamon and allow the pavê to take form in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
I was instructed so greedily by Renato to refrain from informing any guests that the pavê exists, do not offer it to anyone, he said, “finge que nunca aconteceu.”