Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tapioca Pearls with Red Wine (Sagu)


Sagu is how we call the dessert made with tapioca pearls in Brazil. :)


This is another recipe that takes me back to my childhood. My mom used to make these and yes, with wine. But she boiled long enough so all the alcohol evaporated. However, we could still taste it. To me, it sounds and it looks a fancy dessert, maybe it’s just because there’s wine lol. You can use any red wine you want, I used a cheap one and still tasted wonderful! Husband approved too! :)

Sagu has a really interesting consistency. I feel almost like the pearls massage my mouth. It’s kind of funny for me :)


It’s not just because my mom used to make this dessert that reminds my childhood, but because they use to serve it as a snack in some of the schools I’ve studied. But instead of wine, they prepared it with grape juice. I don’t know if they still serve this for the kids in school as I’ve been away from Brazil for more than 5 years. I guess you could use any kind of juice or syrup and you would have a variety of flavours. I’d give it a shot with cherry juice or syrup. Maybe adding a little vodka it’d be great too. Poland makes a delightful cherry vodka called Wiśniówka. I think it would taste amazing with sagu.


I heard that some people like to serve sagu with a vanilla custard or pudding, but I prefer it pure like that, with nothing taking the taste of wine away :)

I used a mug instead of a cup to measure the tapioca pearls and the wine. Sorry, I know it’s not precise, but I worked for me :P And it yield a lot as you can see the big bowl in the background of one of the pictures.

You can use the whole bottle of wine, but you will get then a very liquid consistency and will have to boil for longer to get that sauce-like consistency. If the idea is to make sure all the alcohol is gone, then it’s ok. But I’d be afraid to lose that nice colour if boiling way too long.

I was researching to find out how long it takes for the alcohol to evaporate and I found this page. I had no idea about it, so I guess my sagu had retained about 50% of the alcohol, as I boiled it for about 10 minutes.




1 mug tapioca pearls
3L water
750ml red wine
1 mug of sugar


In a large saucepan boil the water. Then, add the pearls and slowly stir until it boils again.

When the pearls have a clear looking (no white spots) remove from heat and let it cool.

After cooling, using a drainer to wash out the pearls for a few seconds, so that the gooey consistency goes away (some people leave it, but I think it tastes and looks better without it).

Put the pearls back to the saucepan and add the wine and sugar. Let it boil for about 5 minutes or longer, if you want the alcohol to evaporate more.

Transfer to a large glass bowl, let it cool and take it to refrigerate overnight.



Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day False Lime Mousse Pie

lime mousse pie

So tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and I couldn’t stay behind. :P I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back. I chose the recipe only for the colour because those were the ingredients I had at home. I do want to try some recipes with Irish coffee, Guinness, etc, but maybe another time.

This is a basic recipe in Brazil, so I just made it up. We use the mixture of condensed milk and cream in many desserts. Somebody might ask me “Why FALSE?”. Well, it’s false because it isn’t a real mousse. The real mousse calls for egg whites and this recipe doesn’t have them, but the final consistency reminds the real mousse.

I used real lime juice for the mousse and unflavoured gelatine powder. But some people use lime flavoured gelatine, which would even make more sense to call it FALSE :) If you choose this option, don’t use the food colouring. It’s a very refreshing dessert and not too sweet.

lime mousse pie3



300g digestive cookies or other of your choice
70g melted butter (add more if necessary)
juice of 4 limes
300ml extra thick cream
2 cans condensed milk
green food colouring
20g unflavoured gelatine powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1 package lime or lemon flavoured jelly


Preheat the oven to 180C.
Using a food processor or blender, crush very well the cookies. You can use a rolling pin to do it if you don't have these appliances.
Add the melted butter and mix with your hands. Press onto the bottom of a springform pan. Bake the pie crust for about 15 minutes. Let it cool.

For the filling, beat (or whisk) first the condensed milk with the lemon juice. Add the cream and the food colouring (just enough to get the colour desired) and beat again. Dissolve the unflavoured gelatine in the boiling water and mix in to the lemon mixture. Beat very well to make sure there are no lumps. Grease the sides of the pan with a little bit of oil to help releasing.

Pour the lemon cream onto the pie crust and put in the fridge until completely firm.

Prepare the lime jelly according to the instructions of the package, let it cool a little (before it starts to harden) and pour onto the lime mousse. Refrigerate until the jelly is firm.

lime mousse pie4

lime mousse pie5 Enjoy!