Quindins de Iaiá

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Whether you spell it Iaiá or the old-fashioned way Yayá, this superb Brazilian coconut and egg dessert is tops on my list of sweets. Iaiá, by the way, is a diminutive of sinhá, which is an alteration of senhora. Those of you who know Brazilian music will recognize the title of a famous Ary Barroso song, "Os Quindins de Iaiá."

This is my grandmother's recipe. It's unusual in that it includes a teaspoon of corn starch. If you try this recipe, let me know how they turn out. Use the leftover egg whites for meringue. You'll need about 20 mini-muffin tins and a large roasting pan to fill with an inch of hot water or so for the bain-marie.

15 egg yolks

2 egg whites

11/4 lb sugar

1 grated coconut (2 cups)

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 325° F. Mix the egg yolks, egg whites, milk and corn starch well with a spoon and pass mixture through a strainer. Add sugar, then coconut. Let mixture rest for a few minutes to melt sugar well. Butter mini-muffin tins well and add quindim mixture to each one. Place tins in a shallow roasting pan and add enough hot water to come about two-thirds up the sides of the tins. Bake in the center of the oven until top turns golden brown. Make sure your water doesn't dry out, though! Cool for 15 minutes, invert and unmold into pretty paper cups. There you have them!

Maria's Cookbook