Pavês are wonderful layered desserts, usually made with a combination of cookies or biscuits and different creams and fruits. We'll feature a few of our favorites in these pages, starting with number one on our list. This recipe was given to me by my friend in Salvador, Bahia, several years ago, and everybody loves it. It's made with Champagne Biscuits, also known as Lady Fingers and Savoiardi, very much like a tiramisù, except that it's lighter. That much said, you'll need:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 package of Champagne Biscuits or Lady Fingers (7 oz., you may not need all of them; you can save the leftovers to have with your cup of cafezinho or espresso...)
1 can of Creme de Leite Nestlé or Parmalat or a pint of Crème Fraiche (or leave it out entirely, if you can't find either). Put it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour before you use it.
3 eggs, separated
4 cups of milk
A few drops of vanilla
4 Tbsp of NestléQuik or Hershey Cocoa or a mixture of both
4 Tbsp of sugar
The cream. In a heavy saucepan, mix condensed milk, 3 egg yolks, 2 cups of milk and a few drops of vanilla (to taste). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it simmers. Pour into 8 in. serving dish and let cool completely.
The biscuits. Dip each biscuit into a mixture of 2 cups of milk and the chocolate. Put them on top of the cream.
The meringue plus cream. Beat the eggs whites until they form peaks. Add the sugar by heaping spoonfuls and continue to beat until you have a shiny meringue. Add the cream and mix well. Put this mixture on top of the biscuits. Sprinkle chocolate on top, or use chocolate shavings to decorate it. If you can't find the cream where you live, then just leave it out entirely. Put the meringue on top of the biscuits and decorate the top. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serves 4-6, depending on whether you feel like a pig that day. One tends to eat more of this than of tiramisú, because it really is much lighter. Bom apetite!
For other desserts from Bahia, check out Cocadas and Oven Cocada.