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Kay-sha-das! (Queijadas)

June 26, 2014

I topped min with some orange jelly from my previous post.

I topped mine with some orange jelly but lemon curd would be yummy.

Kay Sha Das. Do you know what that is? I certainly didn’t! But I knew that I liked the look of them when I passed a bountiful display in a deli window recently.

I was hurrying past, on another mission, but abruptly stopped in my tracks: here was a cake that I couldn’t recognise! How could that be so?!

The sign itself actually said “Queijadas” and I went in and asked the owner how to pronounce it and more importantly what they were. Kay. Sha. Das, he enunciated slowly. A Portuguese custard tart. But I thought that was a pastel de nata ?…and then I found out that the Portuguese have not just one custard tart but a multitude of regional others!

When the Portuguese started to export their wine, they used egg white to  filter it.  But what happened to the egg yolks that were left? It is believed that the medieval nuns used vast quantities of egg yolks to iron their habits as well as develop endless dessert recipes with the surplus.

Today, the Portuguese still enjoy rich, egg-based desserts that are often seasoned with spices and most popular is egg custard, rice pudding, custard tarts, and of course queijadas.

My research revealed that queijadas vary greatly by region. Some have a thin pastry some don’t. Some are made with cream cheese or ricotta, some just eggs & milk. Lots had copious amounts of sugar! I found recipes that were based on sweetened condensed milk, or almonds or even cheddar! Some were cake-like whilst others just custardy.

The common theme was plenty of eggs (whole or yolks), cinnamon, vanilla and sometimes lemon.

I wanted to replicate the ones that I had seen in the window: A pastry-less custardy cake with a tender crust. I have a pretty good egg tart recipe and wanted something a bit different.

I wanted to replicate it and it be dairy-free, gluten-free, possibly nut-free and low sugar!   I ended up with something approximating a French clafoutis in a cupcake! Despite me never having any luck with clafoutis, I think these worked out pretty well.

Custardy but with a soft crust

Custardy but with a soft crust

I never did buy one of those enticing “kay sha das” in the window and I haven’t been to Portugal, so I don’t know whether mine come close or not. But having satisfied my curiosity and realising that there are a hundred million versions of the cake, I’m not too fussed! I liked what I made.

Do you know them? Have you had one? What was it like? I’d love for you to tell me in the comments.
rind of 2 lemons
120g coconut sugar (I used Natvia)
40g butter
400g milk (I used almond milk or coconut milk)
4 eggs
80g gluten-free SR flour
2 tabs of desiccated coconut or ground almonds
pinch salt
a few drops lemon oil to flavour (optional)
Mill the rind with the sugar for 10 seconds on SP 9. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on SP 6 for 10 seconds.
Grease a muffin pan well and sprinkle the bases with the coconut or almond meal. Pour in the batter to the top of the pans and bake for 40 – 50 minutes. They will puff up and still be wobbly in the middle. Let cool before turning out. They will sink a bit in the middle so you could fill with lemon curd or jam. I used some orange jelly that I made.
8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2014 7:10 pm

    Hi, the word “Queijada” is based on the word “queijo” (cheese) and the recipe generally means cheese cake. Here’s a traditional version from the town of Beja:
    Queijadas de Requeijão
    Filling – 500 g of requeijão (a riccotta-like cheese); 3 eggs; 3 yolks; 375 g sugar; 50 g butter; 2 table spoons of plain flour; 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
    For the pastry – 125 g of plain flour; 1 egg; ½ table spoon of butter; ½ table spoon of lard, 0,5 dl tepid water, a pinch of salt.
    Make the pastry by mixing and kneading the ingredients together well and leaving it to rest.
    For the filling, strain the cheese and mix with the remaining ingredients.
    Roll out the pastry thinly, cut 8cm circles to line individual bun tins and fill with the cheese custard.
    Bake in a moderate oven (~170 deg C).
    This recipe is taken from Cozinha Tradicional Portuguesa by Maria de Lourdes Modesto, ed.Verbo

    • June 29, 2014 8:03 am

      Hi Jane

      Thank you for the recipe! This is a version with a pastry case which I would love to try.

  2. crescentmoonramblings permalink
    June 26, 2014 3:31 pm

    These look great Sarah and very versatile too. They could be a morning or afternoon tea delight or a desert delicacy. My ‘to try list’ is quickly stacking up thanks to your wonderful recipies.

    • June 26, 2014 3:39 pm

      Thanks Shannyn, have you heard of them before?

      • crescentmoonramblings permalink
        June 26, 2014 3:42 pm

        No, I haven’t. Like you though I love looking in the window of patisseries and bakeries when I’m overseas and marvelling at the different baked goods I’ve never seen before. They all look so delicious. Germany was interesting though. Lots of heavy doughy type items in comparison to the delicate creamy and fluffy creations in France and Italy.

      • June 26, 2014 3:43 pm

        Yes, mark said he lived on cake and sausages when he was there!

      • crescentmoonramblings permalink
        June 26, 2014 3:44 pm

        That’s a good combo!

      • June 29, 2014 8:07 am

        Yes I think so! But there are lots of different recipes out there for queijadas

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