Bet you haven’t tasted these oldest surviving desserts from Goa!

‘Bolo sans rival’, ‘Serradura’, and ‘Aletria’ are some of the oldest traditional desserts in Goa, and are made using age-old, and often secret recipes. And, people continue to relish these even today.
Bebinca might be Goa's most well-known sweet, but there are other desserts, which are just as yummy, but not as famed

Bebinca might be Goa's most well-known sweet, but there are other desserts, which are just as yummy, but not as famed

Gomantak Times

You might have heard about ‘Bebinca’, ‘Doce’, ‘Pinagre’ and other sweets and savouries in Goa. But, we bet that you might not have heard about these three desserts which have been part of Goa’s cuisine for a long, long time and till date, people continue to relish them.

The arrival of the sweets to Goa

The Portuguese were one of many who influenced Goa’s cuisine. They brought several changes to the Goan platter and food habits of the local people. They were responsible for bringing in influences from Europe, Africa, the Americas and some parts of Asia.

Since they controlled many colonies, several fruits, recipes and other things made their way into Goa. Experiments in food continued, and due to this, Goa’s cuisine is a series of adaptations, assimilations and westernization.

Desserts were one of the most cherished parts of the meal. People would make it a point to enjoy a good desert after a heavy meal. It completed the meal. Even the cooks and caterers, who catered for Portuguese meals and other occasions, had to learn these dishes well, as the Portuguese were very particular about the taste of these dishes.

Some of these families, or bakeries, which catered to the Portuguese officials, continue to the keep these recipes close to their hearts, and prepare them, even today.

The convent connection

Interestingly, Old Goa housed the Convent of Santa Monica. The nuns here were very skilled when it came to making sweets and savouries. Some nuns would send gifts of dainty confectionaries and savouries to members of the congregation, due to which, some believe that they have the best kept recipes secrets.

Some of the popular sweets like Doce, Bebinca, Pasties de Natas, Queijadinhas do conde, Bolinhos, etc. were commonly made in the convent.

Now that you know how they made their way into Goa’s culinary list, you can go ahead and try them! They can be found at several places in Goa.

1. Serradura

Love pudding? Here is an interesting dessert, brought in by the Portuguese – Serradura. The Portuguese name ‘Serradura’ translates into ‘Sawdust’. Sounds odd, right? Why would someone give a dish this name? Well, the pudding made with condensed milk and cream, has biscuit powder (Marie Biscuits) sprinkled on top, giving it the texture of ‘sawdust’, and that is how the dessert gets its name. It looks like a simple pudding, but the taste is unmatchable!

To prepare it, you need to first refrigerate condensed milk and cream for half a day. After that, cream and milk needs to be blended together. Once this is done, the biscuits (Marie Biscuits) have to be powdered, and three-fourth of it needs to be put in a bowl. Once this is done, the blended cream and milk mixture needs to be added. The remaining biscuit powder can be sprinkled on the top. It can be frozen for nearly 12 hours. If you are running out of time and want it to be quick, you could add dissolved gelatin to the mixture and remove it from the freezer within 30 minutes, prior to serving. Today, there are various places that serve ‘Serradura’, some of which are a little innovative.

Where to find it?

- Hotel Anandashram, 31st January Road, Panjim

- Pastry Cottage, Dr Atmaram Borkar Rd, Altinho, Panaji

- Global to Local, Fontainhas, Panjim

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Serradura topped with biscuit powder</p></div>

Serradura topped with biscuit powder

Picture Courtesy: Easy Portuguese Recipes

2. Bolo Sans Rival

We bet you haven’t heard about ‘Bolo Sans Rival’ – a dessert that is known for its richness and taste, but rarely found in Goa. Believed to be brought in by the Portuguese, its origin is contested. Made from cashew (and previously from almonds), some say it came from France, via the Portuguese, who introduced it as Gateau Sans Rival, while some believe it is classic Filipino dessert which could have its origin in South East Asia. The name ‘Bolo’ in Portuguese means cake, while ‘sans rival’ comes from the French phrase meaning ‘without rival’. It is made with layers of meringue sandwich together with buttercream. The rectangular cake, made using buttermilk, meringue and egg yolk, was earlier made of almonds, and later, is began to be made with cashew nuts.

The rarity of this dessert is due to various reasons – some people are simply unaware, while others who know how to make it, have kept the recipe a secret – and hence, there are few who prepare it with great skill and love. In the olden days, too, it wasn’t common as people would make it on special occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

There are few outlet that prepare this dish, which is gaining quiet a following because it gluten-free.

Where to find it?

- Horse Shoe Bar & Restaurant, Panjim.

- Nostalgia, Raia.

- The Goan Kitchen, Loutolim.

Indira Borges of IBake, Aldona.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A slice of delicious&nbsp;<em>Bolo Sans Rival</em></p></div>

A slice of delicious Bolo Sans Rival

Gomantak Times

3. Aletria

This is another custard-type dessert, made with vermicelli (aletria). It is one of the traditional dishes found in Portugal. For this dish, the aletria is cooked with sweetened milk, and flavoured with cinnamon and lemon. It is then that the pasta is mixed with egg yolks, and placed in a flat baking pan, and left to set. It is decorated in a crisscross pattern. This is a rare find in Goa; there are hardly any places that still make it. Usually, it would be made during Christmas in the past.

Where to find it?

- Luizinha Stores, Municipal Market, Mapusa

- Pastry Cottage, Dr Atmaram Borkar Rd, Altinho, Panaji

<div class="paragraphs"><p><em>Aletria are&nbsp;</em>decorated in a crisscross pattern&nbsp;</p></div>

Aletria are decorated in a crisscross pattern 

Picture Courtesy: The2Planners

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Bebinca might be Goa's most well-known sweet, but there are other desserts, which are just as yummy, but not as famed</p></div>
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