If you are not from Brazil or familiar with our gastronomy, I bet you might be thinking: “What now?” or “What’s she talking about?” or even, “What a funny word!”
Well, I agree. I really think Quindim (pronounced keen-DEEN) is a funny word — especially for a dessert, considering its meaning. 🙂
The word itself comes from the Bantu language, and originally meant “the gestures, demeanor, or humor that is characteristic of adolescent girls.”
Maybe the correlation between the humor characteristic of teens and the vibrant color of the dessert was made because they both make us smile. I don’t know…
Anyway, the fact is that quindim is a popular Brazilian baked dessert, made from sugar, egg yolks, and ground coconut, plus other ingredients that vary from recipe to recipe. Technically, quindim is a custard, which usually is presented as an inverted cup with a glistening surface and intensely yellow color. Quindim can also be made in a large ring mold, in which case it is called a “quindão” and served in slices.
The typical quindim recipe is believed to be based on traditional Portuguese baked desserts that make heavy use of egg yolks. The recipe was then modified during the 17th century by slaves in the Northeast region of Brazil , where coconuts were abundant and where sugar– extracted from sugarcane– was a major industry.
Ah, I cannot forget to mention that Quindim is also the name of a rhinoceros character (named after the dessert) featured in a famous series of children’s books by Monteiro Lobato, as well as on the Sítio do Picapau Amarelo television show, which is based on his works.
The word quindins (plural for quindim) also appears several times in the lyrics of Ary Barroso’s “Os Quindins de Iaiá,” which was sung by Aurora Miranda (Carmen Miranda’s sister) in the Disney movie “The Three Caballeros”.
We, Brazilians, are crazy for quindim, aren’t we? 😉 I hope you become, too…