Daily Top 3 - Mar 05, 2013

ANCIENT CONVENTUAL ALMOND CAKE WITH DAISIES IN EGG'S STRANDS...

Well, this is not a very fancy cake. But I would like to share with you a big passion that I have… CONVENTUAL SWEETS. I don´t know if you know what are Conventual sweets (because it´s Portuguese), but in a few words, here it goes:

Centuries ago, convents and monasteries had to be self-sufficient (that included having chickens) and in the Middle Ages Portugal happened to be producing lots and lots of eggs. Why? Because egg-whites were used in the process of clearing wine and to stiffen clothes (like nun’s habits and the ruffles in rich people’s clothes). Remember: there was no ye olde ironing board.
There was a huge amount of leftover yolks. So, nuns and friars thought it was a good idea to use them to make sweets:
■they could sell them and make some extra money;
■they were nice presents for visitors (rich visitors, that is);
■they had easy access to plenty of sugar and spices coming from Asia and Africa because of the Discoveries;
■they added some things they already had, like lemons, almonds and Port;
■apparently it was also a creativity exercise thinking of names for these sweets and that’s why you’ll find names like barrigas de freira (nun’s bellies), toucinho do céu (heaven’s bacon), papos de anjo (angel’s chins) and orelhas de abade (abbot’s ears).
However, in 1820, with the Liberal Revolution in Portugal, religious orders were expelled from the country.

So what happened to all those recipes? Some were sold (like the Pastéis de Belém); some were already well known. How? Rich families would usually send their daughters to convents for education( also keeping them away from men until they married), so they learned the recipes.

CONVENTUAL SWEETS are a passion to me…I love doing them and I love eat them (What is not so good, LOL).
So this is one of those ancient recepies, Conventual Almond Cake with Egg’s Strands that I LOVE!!!
I just give it a modern touch with some daisies…hope you like it!!!

PS: Sorry for the History lesson!

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43 Comments

SINCAKES ...

Lovely Ana!! Thank you for the History lesson, I liked it alot. I bet it´s yummy???

Veenas Art of Cakes ...

Ana, I think this is what I ate on my trip to Madrid, Spain, perhaps 10 years ago. It was so delicious. We were at a guest house and the lady of the house cooked us some very tasty authentic recipes. She was Portugese origina and her husband was from Spain. She spoke so passionately about her origin and food.
This looks delicious.. Love the lovely yellow color too.

Lucy at Bedlington Bakery ...

I love old authentic recipes…thank you so much for sharing ;-) it looks fantastic, luv the historical info too xxx

Irina Vakhromkina ...

Ana, you surprise me again and again!! You are amazing cake decorator and baker!!! Now you open for us another side of your talent – love for history. Bravo Ana!!! Your cake is beautiful xxx

Toni (White Crafty Cakes) ...

This looks so delicious Ana! Thank you for sharing the history behind it! I always love hearing about the story behind the creations. You are also a great photographer! I love how you stage your cakes for beautiful photos!

Ciccio ...

Looks beautiful your daises look real, I love finding out about new interesting things about cakes

Ana Remígio - CUPCAKES & DREAMS Portugal ...

WoW!!! Thank you so much Ladies!! I really didn’t know what to expect, because it´s not a fancy decorated cake. Normally Conventual sweets aren’t beautiful , but they really have a delicious taste like no other, they are so exquisite (well this is just my humble opinion).
Thank you Ana, and yes they really, really are yummy!! LOL xxx
Thank you Veena, I know that I’m passionate about my Conventual Sweets and my cakes and my traditional recipes. I like to try new things but I love my old recipes…they are yummy!xxx
Thank you so much for your words Lucy!!! xxx
Thank you so much Irina, I really love to know about everything!!! xxx
Thank you so much Toni, I really appreciate your comments. And that’s true Toni, I love when I have time to stage and photograph my cakes. Thank you!!! xxx
Thank you so much Jo, that makes me happy!!! xxx

Lisa Templeton ...

Ana these look absolutely delightful!!!xxx

Ana Remígio - CUPCAKES & DREAMS Portugal ...

Ho!! Lisa thank you so much, that means a lot to me. Thank you!! xxx

Goreti ...

Save me one. I’m coming over. lol It looks delicious!
I love pasteis de Belem, queijadas de nata, queijadas de feijao, etc etc etc

Elite Sweet Cakes ...

hahaha Ana i loved the history lesson.. nice to know some foreign cultures.. but you are kindly requested to give us the recipe to share you the taste ;)

Silvia Costanzo ...

Ana, your daises look real! beautiful! And the history is very interesting!

ClearlyCake ...

What a great story, Ana – it’s lovely to hear old traditions still going strong :)

Ana Remígio - CUPCAKES & DREAMS Portugal ...

You are welcome Goreti!!! I also love all those yummy sweets that you said and I do them all. Thank you so much for your comment Goreti!!! xxx
I´m glad that you liked my history lesson Shereen. lol That´s a good idea, let me find some time and I translate the recipe and do a tutorial for the egg’s strands. xxx
Thank you so much Silvia, I glad you liked it!!! xxx

Ana Remígio - CUPCAKES & DREAMS Portugal ...

Sorry Helenna, your comment popped up when I was answering to the other Ladies comments.
Thank you so much Helenna!! That’s true, here we cherish some of our old traditions (maybe because they taste so good) LOL xxx

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