The “bolinho de chuva” (rain pancake) is a traditional homemade sweet, easy and cheap, made with ingredients that everyone has on hand in your kitchen: all purpose flour, sugar, eggs and milk. Probably the recipe as we know it today took shape only during the second half of the 19th century, when wheat flour becomes an ingredient more accessibile in Brazil; before that period the desserts were made with cassava, eddoe and yam. The Portuguese brought the recipe to Brazil, and it is probably a version of Portuguese “filhoses” (a fried sweet traditionally eaten during Carnival and Christmas), or of doughnut without a hole, known as “bolas de Berlim” (balls of Berlin) in Portugal or as “sonhos” (dreams) in Brazil. You can find similar recipes almost everywhere in Europe, traditionally eaten during Carnival.
“Rain pancakes” made children happy when the weather’s bad and kids can’t go outside and play. These pancakes became popular in Brazil on children’s television series “Sítio do Picapau Amarelo”, based on Monteiro Lobato books. One of the main characters from the serie is aunt Nastácia, wonderful cook, that always made with love these pancakes for the children of the farm – Pedrinho and Narizinho – and for Emília, the cloth doll.
• 2 eggs
• 120 g all purpose flour
• 60 g corn starch
• 60 g sugar
• a pinch of salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 30-40 ml milk
• oil for deep frying
• 50 g sugar and a level teaspoon of cinnamon for dusting
- Beat the eggs until the yolk and white are combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add the milk a little at a time, mixing as you go. The batter should be fairly thick and elastic, so the pan-cakes will be round in shape. If the batter is runny, the pancakes will be irregular in shape.
- In a small saucepan heat enough oil for deep-frying the pancakes.
- Using two spoons, drop small amounts of batter (about half a tablespoon) into the hot oil. Deep-fry over medium heat, to end up well cooked inside. Fry until golden brown, then transfer the pancakes to paper towels to drain for a moment.
- Meanwhile, mix together sugar and cinnamon for dusting in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the pancakes still hot with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Serve immediately.
Variant: add a teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese to the batter.
Yield: 40 small pancakes
Posted on: 24 February 2017