New Year’s Rituals – Tecolameco
On New Year’s Eve, we Brazilians have tons of “mandingas”, or little good luck rituals you have to do at midnight SHARP.
If you are at the beach, you should jump over seven ocean waves. If you are indoors, you should eat 12 grapes, and make a wish for each of them, or eat seven pomegranate berries, and keep the seeds in your wallet for the year. Then, you must eat a fullspoon of lentil, for money, and you can NEVER eat animals like chicken, or turkey, cause they scratch the soil backwards (bad luck) – fish is much better, because, you know, they swim straight ahead always.
And you MUST wear brand new underwear, and choose the color accordingly – white for peace, red for love, yellow for money, and the other colors have meanings too, but I can’t recall of them all – my bad.
In that spirit, I decided to make a very rich and delicious dessert for our New Year’s Eve dinner, because I really wanna have a rich and delicious 2010. Besides that, this recipe was a precious gift, left on the comments of this very blog, by Laura, a reader from Portugal. According to her, it’s a “family jewel”, a very typical dessert from her region, made for very special occasions.
Couldn’t have decided better – the dessert is scrumptuous, creamy, almondy and so beautiful.
Tecolameco – makes one 20cm round cake (please check the link for measurement conversions at the right side bar)
“The recipe I send you is a family jewel, very Portuguese, with all accurate measurements (aunt Laura is very meticulous about that). Tecolameco is a very traditional sweet my family makes for weddings, christenings and special occasions.
From Portugal, my friendly regards,
- 500g sugar
- 250g almonds (peeled and finely ground on a food processor, or you can use almond flour)
- 25g butter
- 10g lard or margarine (I used butter)
- 10 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 300ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ground cinnamon to taste
Preheat oven to 30°F/ 170°C. Butter a 20cm/ 9-inch round pan, cover the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper.
In a saucepan, bring the sugar, water and cinnamon stick to a boil. Let cook until a candy thermometer marks 107°C/ 224°F. Remove the cinnamon and add the almonds, and cook until the mixture has thickened (about 5 to 8 minutes). Remove from heat and let it cool a little, about 10 minutes.
Add yolks and whole eggs, and a pinch of cinnamon, and mix well until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Invert on a serving plate and cover with icing sugar . Decorate with a flower. Serve at room temperature.
Note: For these photos, I cut rounds of the cake with a cookie cutter for individual portions.