Baba de Camelo - Gastro Obscura
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Sweets

Baba de Camelo

In Portugal, a bowl of “camel’s drool” is a sweet treat.

Many children who grow up in Portugal eat camel’s drool long before they lay eyes on a camel. This gummy, creamy dessert, known as baba de camelo in Portuguesestarts with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Cooks create dulce de leche by boiling the can in a pot of water or in a pressure cooker, which thickens and reduces the gooey substance inside. Then, they combine the dulce de leche with egg yolks, a beloved ingredient in a multitude of confections invented in Portugal.

In a departure from the dense, thick desserts indicative of a national yolk obsession, camel’s drool also calls for egg whites. This reflects more contemporary origins than other yolky, local treats such as ovos moles de Aveiro. After the chef folds in whipped egg whites, the buttery caramel mixture takes on a bouncy fluffiness. The result reads as a caramel mousse with a richness more akin to sticky toffee pudding. Some drool-makers mix in crushed almonds, while others sprinkle them over top. And despite the evocative name, no saliva (except for maybe that of the overzealous diner) makes an appearance in the delectable, finished treat.

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