For a long time the Pernambucan sweet known as “bolo de rolo” was mostly eaten by the sugar barons and heads of government. It was only later that it trickled down to the common people.
Its origin lies in the adaptation of a Portuguese cake colchão de noiva (bride’s mattress), a kind of sponge cake rolled with a filling of nuts. Upon arriving in Brazil, the Portuguese began to change the filling by using the plentiful guava fruit in northeastern Brazil and dosing it with sugar from the factories in the region. Even today it is common to sprinkle the bolo de rolo with sugar on its outer shell.
The cakebatter is made with flour, eggs, butter and sugar. This dough is wrapped with a layer of melted guava, giving the appearance of a swiss roll. However, layers of dough and guava are much thinner and taste completely different.
In a 2007 law, the bolo de rolo was recognized as intangible heritage of Pernambuco.
Short “how-to” video (in PT)
Detailed “how-to” video (in PT)
At Street Smart Brazil, there was a post on desserts from Pernambuco and one caught my eye. It’s the cartola and although I don’t add chocolate, it’s something I’ve been doing for years without knowing it had a name. My invention just followed a grilled cheese, banana and cinnamon sandwich I used to get at the lanchonetes in Rio, only I wouldn’t use bread in the recreation.
“One of my favorite desserts is Cartola: sliced fried banana with queijo mateiga or coalho (two types of very delicious Brazilian cheese), topped with with cinnamon and chocolate. Oh it is so good! It is one of those things that you have to try; the list of ingredients may not sound that exciting, but the dish is fantastic. In fact, the state of Pernambuco has been discussing the idea of officially recognizing Cartola as cultural heritage.”
(Cartola from the blog Cozinha Cani)
For more Pernambucan desserts, go here!