Vivian Maeda’s Manjar de Coco com Calda de Ameixa


(dairy free version)
Easy to make, serve 7-8 people

What is a typical Brazilian Christmas Pudding? Hard to answer, our country is made of so many cultures, that everything is atypical, and in terms of food, the country has become a platform of multi-ethnic food celebration and symbiosis. There are some popular choices though, which have turned into part of the family tradition for decades. One of them is ‘manjar de coco’. This sweet dish was first introduced in Brazil by the Portuguese in the 16th century, initially as a chicken savoury dish, but then evolved as a sweet dish and it has since been enjoyed by many families all over the country. What is manjar de coco? Some call it a white custard, others some sort of flan, the recipe is not of a flan or a custard, it is ‘manjar de coco’.

This version is dairy free because of our household, traditionally this is made with cow’s milk.

1 ½ can of coconut milk (400 ml can) - ½ can was light coconut milk (optional)
1 1/3 cup of grated coconut
7 tbsp cornflour
7 tbsp sugar
½ cup of warm water, ½ cup of cold water

Festive prunes syrup
1 star anise
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
160 g dehydrated prunes
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup of elderberry cordial (optional)

Mix the cornflour into the warm water, then add the cold water and leave it aside.  Add all the ingredients into the pan with low heat and keep stirring till it thickens.
Grease your baking moulds and pour the mixture and let it cool before storing it in the fridge for 3-4 hours. I used 4 x star moulds 10 x 10cm, but most people in Brazil use one big baking mould. Turn it on the plate and serve with the soaked prunes and syrup with it.

The smell of all the spices with the prunes should spread the festive spirit in your house and bring some cheer in this very different Christmas 2020.


Vivian Maeda is former Cooks' Alliance Coordinator and long time slow food member.