I come from a Brazilian State named Minas Gerais. It is one of the major producer of coffee in Brazil and most of my relatives plant coffee. If you go to England, you will enjoy the tradition of having a cup of tea. But if you go to Minas Gerais, you will appreciate a delicious cup of coffee, made only with freshly harvested grains. This is an especial tradition that unites people around the table not only to drink coffee (which we prefer with milk, not cream), but also to have a “Quitanda”. “Quitanda” is a collection of divine treats like tapioca biscuit, polenta cake, Brazilian cheese bread and cream biscuit, which is my favorite and I will have the pleasure to share the recipe with you.
This recipe is in family for generations. I have great memories of my beloved grandma baking many biscuits in the firewood oven in the farm. But first, she boiled the fresh milk, which she got in the farm too, and then collected the fresh clotted cream formed on the surface after cooling it. That’s right, fresh clotted cream is the secret ingredient. My mother also usually made them as snacks for the break at school. My sister and I loved to help her. As we were not able to make a braid, we rolled like little shells. Our “shells” were a success in the school!
Many years later my husband, then boyfriend, ate for the first time the biscuit in my aunt’s house and he loved it! He ate so much that every time he comes back there, he is greeted with a lot of biscuits.
I made the cream biscuits for the first time by myself. I rolled them like my mother used to make, but also like the shells that I used to make when I was a child. This is a very easy recipe to prepare. If you don’t want to use clotted cream, you can substitute for butter or vegetable shortening. There is another ingredient in this recipe that is kind of different: ammonium carbonate. It is a classic leavener that makes extra-crisp texture. It has a very strong smell when baking, but it totally dissipates by the time the biscuits are done.
Here comes a tip for you: try to moist the biscuit on the coffee with milk before eating. I love to do this and it’s simply delicious. Enjoy it…
13 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons ammonium carbonate sifted
about 1Kg of all purpose flour
In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cream, sugar and eggs. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the ammonium carbonate and stir. Then add all purpose flour until the point of rolling. Bake until golden on 360°F.