Fios de ovos (Egg Yolks Threads)

"Fios de ovos" - also known as "Palha de Abrantes" (Abrantes straw) - is a speciality of the Portuguese monastic confectionery tradition, and it is very deeply rooted in Brazilian cuisine. During the 16th century in Portugal the egg whites were used to clarify wine, to make Holy Communion hosts and to iron clothes. With the introduction of sugar cane in Europe the Portuguese started making a variety of sweets with the till then leftover egg yolks. 
The "fios de ovos" are used to decorate cakes and savoury dishes, to prepare other sweets and may be served on their own or with whipped cream as dessert. They are delicious and very decorative on the party table or on a buffet table.

Ingredients

  • • 20 egg yolks
  • • 1 egg white
  • • 1 kg sugar
  • • 500 ml water

Preparation method

1. Sieve the egg yolks with the egg white.  
2. Allow water and sugar to boil in a thick bottomed large and low pan, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup boil. To know when it is ready drop a little amount of syrup on a cold plate; when picked up between finger and thumb it should stretch due to stickiness. This is before the syrup takes any colour. If you have a candy thermometer let the syrup boil until temperature reaches 103°C. 
3. Pass the sieved eggs through the "egg yolk threading funnel", a little at a time, into the boiling syrup pan (over medium heat). Make a circular motion. Gently turn over with a fork or with skewers. The "egg threads" will quickly get firm.
4. Remove "egg threads" from pan to drain over a sieve. Sprinkle them with cold water to prevent them from attaching one to another. Then put them into a container.
5. Collect the syrup which passed through the sieve and put it back into the pan, in order to prevent syrup crystallization and to maintain the right syrup consistency. 
6. Repeat until all the egg yolks are cooked. 
7. Keeps well in the fridge for about 10 days. Can be frozen without the syrup.  

Notes: 
• The remaining cooking syrup may be thinned with water, vanilla and liqueur added. The "egg threads" should be stored in this syrup. Before serving drain off the syrup.  
• Freeze the unused egg white in ice cube trays. After the egg whites freeze, store them in a resealable bag in the freezer. After thawing they are just as good as fresh for meringue, mousse, egg white pudding, bread,....
Posted on: 22 February 2012
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